The Hagia Sophia means "Holy Wisdom" in Latin. From the time it was constructed in 360 A.D. to 1453, the Hagia Sophia served as the cathedral of Constantinople. Then it became a mosque until 1931 when it was secularized and changed into a museum as it has been since. (Source: Wikipedia)
Until 1520, the Hagia Sophia was the largest cathedral in the world, and stepping into the space, one can feel the grandeur of this incredible building. The vast open space is filled with the sounds of cameras clicking, visitors whispering, and birds flying and chirping. There was a sense of calm walking through this space. The worn footpaths made me wonder, over the past 1700 years, who all has walked through this space? What were they thinking and feeling when they were here?
I cannot say enough how calming being in the building was. I generally feel a sense of calm when walking through religious spaces, however this was different for me. Perhaps it was the sense of peace that came from knowing that within these walls there was a sense of understanding that seems lacking in our world. To see the symbols of both the Islamic and Christian faiths literally side by side and one a top the other - well that's a level of respect and understanding so uncommon in our daily lives. Everywhere you look, there's news of another war or conflict or dispute. And really, what is everyone fighting about? It often comes back to some deep seeded philosophy that this group is bad because of XYZ. But do we really know why? Sometimes I wonder if we just lived our lives and let go of these past angers, if we might all be happier.
Well, if you want to know more about the history of the Hagia Sophia, its out there for you to find. As most of you know, I'm generally more interested in impressions, feelings, and experiences than the facts and figures. So, that's what you'll get here. :) I really think the pictures speak for themselves...I hope they give you a glimpse of the powerful experience it was to be in this amazing space.