Our day in Istanbul started at the Hagia Sophia Museum. In the words of their website…
“It was used as a church for 916 years but, following the conquest of Istanbul by Fatih Sultan Mehmed, the Hagia Sophia was converted into mosque. Afterwards, it was used as a mosque for 482 years. Under the order of Atatürk and the decision of the Council of Ministers, Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum in 1935.”
It is a beautiful building, with noticeable influences from both its Christian and Islamic heritage. Original Christian wall murals have been uncovered in some areas and as we visited in wintertime, part of the inner area was hidden behind scaffolding due to more restoration and maintenance work being carried out. Well worth a visit, the place has a very peaceful, tranquil air and the sheer scale has to be seen to be really appreciated.
(Click on thumbnail photos for larger versions)