After the Nika Rebellion Justinian undertook to rebuild Constantinople. Built in only 5 years (532-537) Its beauty became renowned - as the sun crossed the sky, spokes of light spun slowly across the Cathedral’s walls, columns, arches, 7 glittering mosaics Everywhere there was polished marble in 6 colors - green, black, red, purple, blue, white After the sun set a huge candelabrum, hanging on long chains, blazed to life.
Like all Byzantine churches - very plain on the outside. -Plain brick and mortar - symbol of earthly life and daily world. -Rich interior - symbol of ideal of spiritual universe. Dome - 180 feet above the floor, diameter 107 feet & at its circumference it has 40 stain glassed windows. Dual nature - East meets West. -Size and strength - thick pillars and huge enclosed space = reminders of Rome. - Design & decoration - intricate and ornate = Eastern Influences
2 distinguished architects - Anthemius of Tralles & Isidorus of Miletus solved a major design problem building the “pendentive” The style spread far and wide(Armenia, Southern Italy, Russia, Serbia and Sicily) When Constantinople fell to the Islamic Turks, Hagia Sophia became a mosque. Today it is a museum - and still one of the greatest buildings ever built.
Justinian offering Hagia Sophia & Constantine offering Solomon’s Temple to Virgin Mary