Christian History Project. This site contains the text of 12 volumes on the history of mankind over the last 2,000 years written from a 'collectively-denominational' Christian perspective.

Hagia Sophia |

Hagia Sophia is drawn from Chapter Ten, beginning on page 278, of Volume Four, Darkness Descends of the twelve-volume historical series The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years. If you would like to order this book please visit

Under his watchful eye, magnificent Hagia Sophia came into being, and to this day it dominates Istanbul

Hagia Sophia - Justinian’s masterpiece

Hagia Sophia - Justinian’s masterpiece
Photographs of the interior of Hagia Sophia give only a limited sense of the counterpoint of light and dark, the interplay of the surfaces in the basilica (above). The Great Church of the Holy Wisdom in modern Istanbul is a building meant to be appreciated by standing in it, and most effectively by worshiping in it. Using new techniques, Justinian and his architects meant to give the 110-foot dome the appearance of floating in light, cascading down on the east and west sides in a series of half-domes. To eliminate the need for heavy supports in the interior, the massive piers under the dome had to be supported by four great rectangular buttresses.

The Church of the Holy Wisdom, known best by its Greek name Hagia Sophia, still stands high above the Turkish city of Istanbul as it stood high above the Christian city of Constantinople for nine centuries. Its designer, Anthemius of Tralles, may have been the premier architect and engineer of his time, but the emperor Justinian closely supervised construction. He had studied architecture and competently sorted out problems that arose during the five-year project.

The original design was structurally faulty, however, and the huge dome perched atop the colonnades and galleries collapsed in 558. A new and higher windowed dome was designed and put in place, flanked by pillars and smaller domes, the soaring interior elaborately decorated. In 562, Justinian once again consecrated the church. The new dome has held ever since.

Hagia Sophia was turned into a mosque in 1453, after Constantinople fell to the Turks. Its mosaics were plastered over, and minarets and other Islamic touches were added to the exterior. The magnificent building, its original gold mosaics largely restored, now serves as a popular Turkish museum.

This is the end of the Hagia Sophia category article drawn from Chapter Ten, beginning on page 278, of Volume Four, Darkness Descends. To continue reading more about Hagia Sophia from The Christians, Their First Two Thousand Years we suggest experiencing the rest of the book, complete with hundreds of magnificent illustrations, by ordering it at