Just two centuries after Roman Emperor Constantine established Constantinople as the new capital of the Empire, and Christianity as the official state religion, the Byzantine Emperor, Justinian the Great, commissioned the building of the Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya). Completed in just five years in AD 537, the colossal edifice supporting a dome 31 meters (102 feet) in diameter and 56 meters (180 feet) in height immediately became the defining building of Christendom. (Note: one TE member disagrees with me about Constantine giving Christianity the status of official state religion, suggesting instead that Christians were given freedom to practice their religion. On this point, honest people can disagree.)
Anthemios of Tralles (modern Aydin), primarily an artist and scientist, and Isidoros of Miletus, accomplished architect, engineer and scholar brought their considerable skills together in producing the Hagia Sophia, a wonder for the ages. They borrowed ideas from the best of Imperial Roman, late antiquity, and early Christian concepts in creating the Hagia Sophia. All the traditional churches of the Byzantine, Slavic, Orthodox worlds, built over the subsequent 1400 years descend in some form or other from the Hagia Sophia. And it even influenced Ottoman architects, the greatest of them, Mimar Sinan (1489-1588), paying his homage to the edifice by emulating it in his Suleymaniye (in Istanbul) and Selimiye (in Edirne).
Nine centuries after the Hagia Sophia was erected, when the Ottomans conquered the city, Constantinople was renamed Istanbul, and the Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque. Four minarets were added, and immense buttresses were built to support a building beginning to lean. Finally, just 75 years ago, the 1500 year-old building was transformed into museum no longer a church or a mosque in a tacit statement of universal religious tolerance, and resistance to one religion or another being the sole steward of the building.
In a part of the world where a seismic fault runs through the Sea of Marmara, just south of the Istanbul, the building has been rocked by numberless earthquakes, and has survived them all (notwithstanding one earthquake just 20 years of the completion of the building that caused the dome to collapse and a new dome having to be built to replace it). The building even survived the catastrophic earthquake in 1999 when close to 18,000 people perished within a circle of 80 km radius. I was visiting Istanbul and staying in Taksim, when the last major eartquake struck, and I remember running out on a balcony (foolish thing to do), to see if any of the minarets of the Hagia Sophia or the Blue Mosque had toppled. They had not!
The vantage point for the photo was the observation deck of Galata Tower, itself 1500 years old, and perched on a hilltop across the Golden Horn (Haliç). I took the photo with a Nikon D70 in May, 2006, while visiting the city to give lectures at the University of Istanbul and Bogaziçi University. I used a 70-210 Nikkor lens, extended to full length and steadied on the balustrades. Subsequently, I cropped the image to the aspect ratio of the golden ratio, or 1:1.618, and created a simple mat around it. I resisted removing the white speck, a sailboat, although it detracts from the subject itself, it does point out that the backdrop is the open sea. The signature at the bottom is in the DaVinci font forward (there is also a DaVinci font backward, the way Leonardo personally wrote). The font was used in my book, Math and the Mona Lisa.
This image will be placed in a new group theme, DOMES. I Welcome others to contribute.
Critiques | Translate
pat0500 (21561) 2007-01-11 14:38
Very nice picture and very good point of view.
Beautiful place and pretty coulours of the sky and see.
Good sharpness, very good note, good shot.!
rhizomes (15343) 2007-01-11 14:40
Nice view from a great point of view ! Impressive sharpness and great colors !
sacavem (18610) 2007-01-11 14:49
Pretty postcard of Istambul,
tcht (7565) 2007-01-11 14:58
Lovely view of this famous place. The muted colours of the background works well to bring out the details of the structure and the sharpness is really good. Interesting that you used the golden ratio, which I think works best for landscape work.
p.s. perhaps you could also position the dome on the dot of the 'golden spiral' :)
gemlik (983) 2007-01-11 15:10
Açınız mükemmel,arkadaki Marmara görüntüsü
bu muhteşem yapıya ayrı bir güzellik vermiş.
vincz (19113) 2007-01-11 15:19
Very nice picture and excellent note. i like very much the choice of the "golden ratio". Although I did not know about it before i must say that I found immediately that this picture had an excellent aspect ratio, which makes everything really well balanced. Great work.
mesutilgim (80668) 2007-01-11 15:45
Sevgili Bülent kardeşim,
Çok değişik bir noktadan, alışılmışın dışında bir Ayasofya.
Ellerine sağlık ve tfs
reza_map (2) 2007-01-11 15:46
very beatiful picture and very interesting note
thanks for sharing
grigand (19425) 2007-01-11 17:03
A very beatiful view, and a good composition.
john_c (24662) 2007-01-11 21:03
Well composed with a refreshing view of this famous edifice and landmark. The lush foliage in the foreground nicely sets off the main structure. The lone sailboat in the distance further enhances. An excellent historical note. Well captured.
nursez (1903) 2007-01-12 0:26
Merhaba Bülent bey,
farklı bir açıdan Aya sofya,beğendim,elinize sağlık.
atilgone (0) 2007-01-12 4:10
Merhaba Bülent Bey,
Bu kareyi nerden çektiniz? Harika bir açı elinize sağlık. Arka planda hiç birşey görünmüyor Anadolu Yakası sisten dolayı görünmez mi olmuş anlayamadım. Bunu favorilerime ekliyorum.
Ertan (2988) 2007-01-12 4:30
Merhaba Bulent Abi.
Bu resme baktikca "istanbulu dusunuyorum gozlerim kapali" siiri animsadim.Mukemmel
Tezic (17865) 2007-01-12 12:14
Açı, bakış noktası ve geri plan harika olmuş... tebrikler..
İyi hafta sonları dilerim.. / Coskun
adores (34738) 2007-01-12 13:33
Famous monument and always nice to see.Good point of view and colours. I also like the little boat in the Bosphuros.
Have a nice weekend!
thea0211 (1365) 2007-01-12 15:45
perfect architecture - very good image!
thanks for sharing,
metek (2997) 2007-01-12 16:15
guzel bir açı , kartpostal nıteliğinde bir kare
sothy81 (9546) 2007-01-12 21:14
Hi Bulent, this is a very nice architecture. I love the overall picture of it. It is located at a very pleasant place. Very well shot. Sothy
siolaw (38052) 2007-01-12 21:37
A much photographied monument from a great POV, framing and compo are fine, colors and sharpness too... and your note is very interesting
veve (4189) 2007-01-13 8:59
Very good view of this famous church!
The image has a good depth and fine details!
delic (6735) 2007-01-13 12:46
Excellent view that captures the glory of Aya Sofya. Boat is small and does not cause destraction. Perhaps a polarizer would be useful here though. Best wishes, Hakan.
jmcl (14535) 2007-01-13 14:48
Well captured image of this stunning and wondrous place. I love the way the sea merges with the sky in the back .. The soft dimness of the sky and light has a really interesting effect on such a massive structure .. makes this place not just powerful but thoughtful and introspective in a way ..
magiqa (1292) 2007-02-25 18:51
It sure is something special, the Aya Sofia! First time I visited it was in 1968. Some years ago I visited it again, and it was under reparation. When I saw the 15 levels high reparation stairs, I realized how high it was up to the cupol roof!
Very good picture!
Angshu (54921) 2007-09-25 1:34
Dear Professor "A"
A very good view of the grand monument, church and a mosque. I was trying to figure out the difference in architecture between the Blue mosque & Hagia sofia, pretty much similar in structure..the former seems to have six minarets instead of four in Hagia Sofia. if there are other differences, I would be glad to learn about them. Excellent post!
Waith warm Regards
pboehringer (770) 2008-03-16 16:18
wonderful post in every respect. The photography evokes the feelings that I had for Istanbul during my short stay there. Your comprehensive note touches so many humanistic elements regards the city, the people living in it, its history, the Hagia Sophia itself, as well as additional "little" secrets as the golden ratio and DaVinci's handwriting. Tremendous work!
By the way, where did you get the DaVinci font from?
Valerka (8171) 2008-07-17 9:00
I'm sure, anyone once visiting this city feels an inexplicable need to pay hommage to Hagia Sophia and so you did a few years ago.
You had chosen a very nice POV to show the solid and elegant building. One can feel your admiration for this architectural and historical jewel.
I'm happy, Ataturk made it possible to be seen by all lovers of beauty and fineness.:)
Yet,I find the frame a bit too thick despite its matching and non-distracting colour.
Though,I myself also like framing:))
- Copyright: Bulent Atalay (batalay) (34823)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2006-05-10
- Categories: Architecture
- Camera: Nikon D-70, Nikkor 70-210 f4.5-5.6
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Theme(s): DOMES, SPIRES AND MINARETS [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2007-01-11 14:35
- Favorites: 1 [view]