Hagia Sophia is one of the world's greatest architectural monuments. First constructed as the principal church of Constantinople in the fourth century, and destroyed twice by fire, it was rebuilt in the mid-sixth century. Its soaring domes and arches, adorned with luminous gold mosaic-work and gleaming marbles, have inspired awe among generations of visitors. Following the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the church was divested of its Christian decoration and converted to a mosque. It ranked as one of the most important imperial mosques in Istanbul until 1935, when it was converted into a museum. This fully illustrated guide traces the building's development from its foundation as the principal church of Constantinople in the fourth century to its present role as a museum. The beautiful images and design pay tribute to the famous and awe-inspiring architecture.
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