Marilyn Bridges Photography

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, 2004. copyright photographer Marilyn Bridges

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, 2008. Originally built at the command of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in AD 532, the cathedral dedicated to “Holy Wisdom” cost 145 tons of gold (about US $3 billion today), making it one of the most expensive structures in the world. The mathematician Anthemius of Tralles and the physicist Isadore of Miletus were employed to design the great domed building (“like you hired Oppenheimer to build your house”). Hagia Sophia served as the principal Christian cathedral of Constantinople until the Ottoman conquest in 1453, when it was converted to a mosque. The minarets were then added. In 1934 the building was secularized and became a museum.

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