ILLUSTRATIONS: Hagia Sophia today.

This immense structure, the scale of which is difficult to read from photographs, is the most amazing monument of imperial Roman wealth still intact. This is because it has been continuously under the care of governments that associated it with their own prestige. After the Ottoman conquest in 1453, the cathedral was turned into a mosque. In the 20th century, the secular government of Turkey made it a museum.

Hagia Sophia seen from the Hippodrome. The obelisk in the foreground is a Pharoanic Egyptian monument relocated to Constantinople in antiquity.

Another picture of the exterior.

The interior. Look carefully for human-sized elements at floor level.

Another view of the interior.

A cross-section.

A full site devoted to Hagia Sophia, compiled by Panagiotis Savvaidis.

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