Hagia Sophia is the one of the most visited museums and most prominent monuments in the world in terms of art and the history of architecture. It has also been called “the eighth wonder of the world” by East Roman Philon as far back as the 6th century.
The current Hagia Sophia is the third construction, done in a different architectural style, even though it occupies the same location as the previous two. The original building was constructed by the most important architects of the period (527-565), Anthemios (Tralles) and Isidoros (Miletus), under the order of Emperor Justinianos. It is mentioned in the resources that during its construction period, the two prominent architects each had 100 architects working under them, who in turn had 100 workers each working under them.
The construction of the Hagia Sophia began on February 23, 532. It was completed before long, approximately within 5 years and 10 months. It was then opened to divine service with a great ceremony on December 27, 537.
It was used as a church for 916 years, but following the conquest of Istanbul by Fatih Sultan Mehmed, the Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque. Afterwards, it was used as a mosque for 482 years.Under the order of Ataturk and the decision of the Council of Ministers, Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum in 1935.
This small settlement can be dated back to the 10th or 11th centuries. It covers an area of one square kilometer and contains eight complexes gathered around three-sided courtyards, each with a decorated main facade.
The first complex on the right when you enter Aciksaray from the Nevsehir-Gulsehir road has one of the best elaborate facade in Cappadocia. The complex has two irregular rooms and one rectangular, in which a large equal-armed cross is carved on the interior wall above the entrance. Their heads are lost, because a window-like opening has been cut on the wall. Only in Aciksaray, you will see the motif of the bull, regarded as sacred by the Neolithic communities in Anatolia as well as the Hittites.
Hagia Sophia is open for visit every day except Mondays. The winter visiting hours for the Hagia Sophia are from 09am to 05pm, with the final entry being at 04pm. During the summer, the visiting hours are between 09am to 07pm, with the final entry being at 06pm.
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