construction of the Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya Camii) a
new type of church architecture developed in the eastern Mediterranean
characterized by vaulted and domedand decoratedinteriors.
For the Hagia Sophia we have the last great example of Roman
architectural inventiveness on a grand scale. Monumentality
combined with transcendence creates an architectural space characterized
by an etherial vision. Although it may appear weightless, structure
is a critical element in its design. (To view images of Hagia
Sophia go to image index.)
Built between 532 and 537 to replace an earlier, 5th century
church destroyed in the fires of the Nika Rebellion of 532.
The rebellion devastated the city but resulted in the consolidation
of the Emperor
Justinian's power. With the restoration of his authority,
Justinian began a rebuilding campaign at the center of which
was the construction of a new cathedral, the Hagia Sophia. To
accomplish this, he engaged the architects (mechanikoi) Anthemios
of Tralles and Isidoros of Miletus. The dome
was rebuilt after an earthquake caused its collapse in 557;
rebuilt by Isidoros the Younger; there were also partial collapses
in the 10th and 14th centuries. The church was converted to
Click one of the topic in the drop-down menu at the top right
of this page to explore Hagia Sophia in greater depth.