Excellent show by PBS Nova: Hagia Sophia: Istanbul’s Ancient Mystery. Hagia Sophia (“Holy Wisdom”) started as a Greek Orthodox Basilica, built in the 6th Century in Constantinople (now Istanbul in Turkey). It is unimaginably huge and magnificent, although built under not-so-holy circumstances. The area was conquered by Muslims and the basilica was converted into a mosque. (The Muslims also plastered over the beautiful mosaics.) In modern times, Hagia Sophia was converted yet again, this time into a secular museum. How did the building survive all this time, even withstanding major earthquakes that flattened everything else in the vicinity? Like the Christian faith, this magnificent building has somehow endured. Science meets faith as Nova seeks to understand why Hagia Sophia has survived to this day.
This is true. They have, however, restored a number of them in the process of making it a secular museum, as I’m sure they mention in the Nova piece.
It is a magnificent edifice! I highly recommend it for anybody touring in the vicinity!
It’s my favourite old church building.