Almost ten years ago, my exhibit opened on Providence College campus showing the photographs of Hagia Sophia. I took those photographs in 2009 after a good friend arranged a visit to the restoration site and we took the elevator to the level inside its magnificent dome.
I spent hours inside and around the dome, even stepping outside to walk on its roof to enjoy the surrounding vista. The feeling of being there, inside the dome of Hagia Sophia was one of the great experiences I have ever had. The sheer size of the dome, the hanging rod of the huge chandelier rushing down from its center, the gold mosaics on the walls, and my closeness to all that gave me a big rush. Touching the gold mosaics felt like shaking hands with the masters who laid them there. I even touched the very center of the dome where an iron rod about the size of my wrist extended down ready to support the chandelier. What a feeling!
I photographed the dome, from the dome looking down, the details on the walls to capture their beauty for others to enjoy. Now, I am sharing these photographs once more as this World Heritage Site is at the threshold of becoming a mosque once more. I am not sure what will happen to those mosaics, decorations, Christian symbols as they are not allowed in places of Islamic worship. It will be a shame if they are simply whitewashed or covered in other ways to deprive the visitors from enjoying their unique beauty.
By sharing these photographs and the slide show once more, I would like to give everyone .another glimpse of the Great Church, Hagia Sophia. These photographs are rare views with their vantage point and proximity to the detail. In previous posts, these photographs were smaller, mainly driven by the older screen sizes. The presentation with thick black borders is a link to the many icons found in museums and stores with their thick black ebony frames and gold linings.
And, the slide show with its hauntingly beautiful Byzantine chants may give one a sensation of being there during the old times. The memories belong to us even if the basilica is being placed in a different domain.
Here are some thoughts on the conversion to a mosque:
And, here you can see my other writing about Hagia Sophia and related activities.
Enjoy the views of the Great Church, Ayasofya, Hagia Sophia, Holy Wisdom from a unique vantage point. Click on the small images to see them larger.