Hagia Sophia Cathedral
Built by emperor Justinien between 532-537 and dedicated to Holy Wisdom, Hagia Sophia is the best living masterpiece of the Byzantine Empire. Adorned with priceless mosaics, frescoes, and flawless marbles and crowned with a gorgeous massive dome, the Hagia Sophia had served as imperial and patriarchal church fore more than 1000 years. Turned into an imperial mosque just after the conquest of Constantinople by Mehmet 2 the Conquerer of Ottomans served as mosque and today she has been waiting for visitors as a museum since 1935. It is a miracle of art, architecture, history, and Christianity in İstanbul enchanting visitors from all around the World.
Hagia Irene Church
Though it is not accurate when Hagia Irene was built, it is exactly that emperor Justinien rebuilt it. Hagia Sophia in 532 and dedicated it to the Holy Peace. Hagia Irene had served as a patriarchal chapel during the Byzantine time. Interestingly it has not turned into a mosque by Ottomans and served as the seat of Jannısaries (guards of the emperor, gathered from Christian family children and adopted to Şia Islam and employed in the army) or their arsenal. The first museum of Ottoman empire had opened in Hagia Irene church and today it serves as either.
Yerebatan (underground) Palace is the other common name of the Basilica Cistern. It is the uncontroversially perfect example of Byzantnian city planning and water supply for the city. Adjacent to the Hagia Sophia, it was the main water supply and distribution cistern. Standing on 336 columns in 12 rows, it is even today carrying tons of water inside and buildings constructed over it. Up-side down Medusa’s head color symbolize the end of polytheism and ascend of Christianity.
Sultan Ahmet Square of today is one of the oldest us, hippodrome had become the heart of social life and horse race. Capable of 100.000 seats for fanatic spectators, adorned with statues and columns in the spine (center), emperor lodge directly related to the Great Palace, it was a magnificent example of the Roman Empire. Currently standing columns the Serpent, Constantine the Great and Theodosius are witnesses of triumphal centuries.
Little Hagia Sophia
Emperor Anastasıus had blamed Justınıen and his wife Theodora for planning a conspiracy against him and captured them to execute. Fortunately, the emperor had seen the saints Sergius and Bacchus in his dream and forgave the captures. After Justinian ascended to the throne he and his wife built the Little Hagia Sophia, devoting it to St. Sergius and Bacchus. İt was a primary example of Hagia Sophia in the sense of its plan and architecture and the Süleymaniye Mosque in considering ground strengthening. Turned into a mosque by Beyazıt 2 of the Ottomans, it still welcomes the visitor in the entrance of Constantinople’s palace ruins.
It is not clear how old is Chora Church but records show that it was first built in the 5th century, so the church is almost 1600 years old. The question of when was Chora Church built has its answer in the construction process. After the original church was destroyed by an earthquake, it had to wait for seven centuries to be rebuilt by Byzantine Emperor. The name Chora has a connotation with the Greek word meaning the countryside. At the time of its first construction, Chora Church was out of the city walls, however with the expansion of these walls, the monastery area remained within the city. Therefore, its re-construction got the importance but its name remained unchanged. This area in Edirnekapı is recently called ¨Kariye¨ – a modified version of original ¨chora¨ in the Turkish language.