Thursday, May 25, 2006

Aya Sofia

It is hard to compose a blog post about my trip to Turkey. I saw so many beautiful things that one post would limit the details of my adventures and some sights were so amazing that I might as well steer away from translating them into words. One of the most beautiful buildings I visited on my trip was Hagia Sophia (Turkish: Aya Sophia).

In 537 AD, this building was erected as a church and in 1453 it was converted into a mosque by Mehmet the Conqueror. Ataturk turned this mosque into a museum in 1935 and that is how it stands today.

As I walked in the enormous main doors it took my pupils a few seconds to dilate. As soon as I could see, I was awestruck by the beauty of the architecture. Many people refer to this as the eight wonder of the world. Inside I saw an interesting mix of Christian and Islamic art. In this picture on the ceiling there is a beautiful mosaic of Mary and Jesus and above and below the windows there is Islamic calligraphy of the names of Allah, Prophet Muhammad svt and the first four Caliphs.
At the main entrance they took my tripod so I had to ask around for people who were able to sneak theirs in. Flash is not allowed, so I am thankful to the German lady who let me borrow hers.

This is where the Imam stands when leading prayer, directed towards Ka'aba (Mecca, Saudi Arabia).

Prophet Muhammad (svt) in Arabic calligraphy

Abu Bakr (ra) was the first Muslim Caliph and the closest friend and companion to Prophet Muhammad (svt).

When the Aya Sofia was a Church this is where to Empress stood to attend the service. This balcony overlooks the whole church and is high above the main floor.

In the foreground you can see some of the domes of the Aya Sofia and the blue mosque is in the background. The Blue Mosque was built to outshine the Aya Sofia .....

Blue Mosque coming up in the next post



Irum said...

THEse are Amazing photos

lisa said...

absolutely beautiful!

liz said...


oooh khalid i love these pictures
it was so fun hanging out with you!