Hagia Sophia, Turkish #Ayasofya , also called #Church of the Holy Wisdom or Church of the Divine Wisdom, cathedral built at #Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey) in the 6th century CE (532–537) under the direction of the #Byzantine#emperor#Justinian I. By general consensus, it is the most important Byzantine structure and one of the world’s great monuments.
The Hagia Sophia combines a longitudinal #basilica and a centralized building in a wholly original manner, with a huge 105-foot (32-metre) main #dome supported on pendentives and two semidomes, one on either side of the longitudinal axis. In plan the building is almost square. There are three aisles separated by columns with galleries above and great marble piers rising up to support the dome. The walls above the galleries and the base of the dome are pierced by windows, which in the glare of daylight obscure the supports and give the impression that the canopy floats on air.
The Hagia Sophia was built in the remarkably short time of about six years, being completed in 537 ce. Unusual for the period in which it was built, the names of the building’s architects—Anthemius of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus—are well known, as is their familiarity with #mechanics and #mathematics . The Hagia Sophia is a component of a #UNESCO World #Heritage site called the Historic Areas of Istanbul (designated 1985), which includes that city’s other major historic buildings and locations.
The original church on the site of the Hagia Sophia is said to have been built by #Constantine I in 325 on the foundations of a pagan #temple . It was damaged in 404 by a fire that erupted during a riot following the second banishment of St. John Chrysostom, then #patriarch of Constantinople. It was rebuilt and enlarged by the #Roman emperor Constans I. The restored building was rededicated in 415 by #Theodosius II. The church was burned again in the Nika insurrection of January 532, a circumstance that gave Justinian I an opportunity to envision a splendid replacement