Not so coincidentally, my favorite building in the world is in my favorite city in the world. Hagia Sophia, consecrated in 537 A.D., is one of the architectural greats. Considered simultaneously the greatest construction of late antiquity as well as the Byzantine world, Hagia Sophia reigned supreme as the world’s largest cathedral for nearly a millennium until the construction of the Cathedral of Seville. In reality, there was nothing in the entire world that could compete with it from an architectural standpoint. (And there still isn’t in my mind.)
The Ottomans did their best to out-construct the wonder sitting in their backyard. And if we are talking about exteriors only, many would argue they succeeded. But nothing compares with the cavernous interior of Hagia Sophia. There is something magical about the construction and the light, which clearly comes through in photographs; it almost looks computer generated. The building fills me with awe every time I see it.
Strangely, I realized while posting the lead picture that the interior color scheme of Hagia Sophia corresponds perfectly to the color scheme of this blog. Coincidence? Or do I love Hagia Sophia so much that I subconsciously felt the need to incorporate the color scheme into ContemporaryNomad.com?
Tony poses in front of his favorite building in the world, Hagia Sophia
To get a feel for the scale, look for Thomas on the left
Some Ottoman plaster was removed to reveal Byzantine mosaics
The phenomenal ribbed dome is still covered in beautiful Ottoman decoration
The sheer scale of Hagia Sophia overwhelms visitors
Check out the amazing columns and chandeliers
Don’t miss the view from the second floor