Interesting Facts About Hagia Sophia That Everyone Should Know` | Kidadl

FOR AGES 3 YEARS TO 18 YEARS

Interesting Facts About Hagia Sophia That Everyone Should Know`

Arts & Crafts
Learn more
Reading & Writing
Learn more
Math & Logic
Learn more
Sports & Active
Learn more
Music & Dance
Learn more
Social & Community
Learn more
Mindful & Reflective
Learn more
Outdoor & Nature
Learn more
Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

Hagia Sophia is regarded as one of the most iconic buildings in Istanbul, Turkey, and is visited by numerous visitors every year.

Hagia Sophia (also called Hagia Sofia) has had its fair share of difficulties in history. Earthquakes tested its fortitude, fires threatened to burn it down, and crusaders attacked and looted its valuables.

Emperor Constantine the Great erected the first basilica in 325 AD on the remains of a pagan temple. In 537 AD, Emperor Justinian I completed the structure in its current configuration. 'Solomon, I have exceeded thee!', Justinian said after finishing the structure. When you view the magnificence of Hagia Sophia, you can't help but agree that it is one of the most magnificent Christian cathedrals ever created.

Just like there is the whole church for divine intervention, Hagia Sophia served as a place for Muslim prayers also. During the Ottoman era, the Hagia Sophia stood as the Christian cathedral. During the Ottoman period, the Ottoman Sultan decided to turn the cathedral into a mosque. Since the Sultan was a Muslim, it was changed into their place of worship, a mosque. Later on, the mosque was endowed as a nonprofit organization, an Islamic charitable trust.

After reading about the history of this famous building in Istanbul city, also check facts on Hagia Sophia history and historical facts about Spain.

Fun Facts About Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia is amongst the most well-known structures in Turkey. Here are some really fun facts about Hagia Sophia which you will really enjoy.

Hagia Sophia began life as a church, built on a pagan temple by Constantine I in 325 AD. Constantius II, his son, consecrated the church in 306. During riots in 404 AD, the original wooden construction was destroyed. Constans I renovated and expanded the structure, and Theodosius II dedicated it in 415 AD. The second Hagia Sophia, however, was destroyed by fires during the Nika Revolt in 532 AD. It was finally built by Justinian in 537 AD.

Thereafter, it was used as a mosque for 500 years.

In 1453, Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Empire after decades of sieges, attacks, and crusades. Sultan Murad II titled the city Istanbul and permitted for the church to be looted. The church had become dilapidated by this time, with doors coming off hinges and damaged windows. Mehmed II, his successor, rebuilt the structure and turned it into a mosque. In June 1453, he joined the first Friday prayer here, and the structure became Istanbul's first imperial mosque.

Then it was turned into a museum.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the first Turkish president and founder of modern Turkey, secularised Hagia Sophia and turned it into a museum. Authorities have made it illegal to worship here for decades. The Turkish government then designated a modest pavilion in the museum as a prayer space in 1991. The call to prayer from the museum's minarets was reinstated in 2013.

Its name wasn't always Hagia Sophia.

After learning about Hagia Sophia's history, this information becomes less shocking. Because of its vast dimensions, the complex was formerly known as 'The Great Church.' Built in the fifth century, the second church was renamed Hagia Sophia, which means 'Holy Wisdom' in Greek. Following the Ottoman invasion, it was renamed Ayasofya. It's also known as the Holy Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque or Ayasofya Müzesi.

It is thought to have healing properties.

The 'wishing column,' 'perspiring column,' and 'sweating column' are three of Hagia Sophia's 107 outstanding columns. The column in the complex's northwest corner is partially clad in bronze and wet to the touch. There is a hole present in the middle that is claimed to have received St. Gregory's blessing. According to legend, if you stick your finger through and it emerges wet, your desires will be granted, and you will be healed of any sickness. It is called the 'weeping column'.

Surprising Facts About Hagia Sophia

Here are some extremely interesting facts about Hagia Sophia which you will certainly enjoy!

It is was an innovative building and a testament to Justinian's power.

During the Nika Riots in 532 AD, the construction of Hagia Sophia began. The great insurrection erupted in Constantinople, and Emperor Justinian I was not a popular ruler. For five years, he was the ruler. The riots began with demonstrators screaming 'Nika,' which means 'victory', and besieging Justinian in his palace in an attempt to force him out. The hefty levies were met with protests. The emperor used physical force to put down the uprising after deploying loyal troops into the city. Following the disturbances, Justinian ordered the building of Hagia Sophia on the site of a burned-out church. The structure symbolized Justinian's and Christianity's supremacy. The word Hagia Sophia meant 'holy wisdom' in Greek.

The Earthquake in 558 AD caused massive damage to the central dome of Hagia Sophia.

It was one of the building's most distinguishing characteristics. The original architects, Anthemius of Tralles and Isidoros of Miletos, designed a 160 ft (48.77 m) high dome with a 131 ft (39.93 m) in diameter. The dome, however, collapsed in 558 AD due to an earthquake. The dome was then reconstructed to its original height of 182 ft (55.47 m). In 562 CE, the walls were also reinforced. The dome's weight is supported by a sequence of lesser domes, arcades, and four huge arches.

It's made out of one of the world's seven ancient wonders.

Architects used pillars from the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, to fortify Hagia Sophia. The ancient temple, also known as the Temple of Diana, was restored twice before being wrecked in 401 AD. Today, only the underpinnings remain. Other materials, such as green marbles from Thessaly and Yellowstone from Syria, were gathered from all across the Byzantine Empire.

It's a work of art in terms of design.

Hagia Sophia was designed to impress, and many subsequent neo-Byzantine and Ottoman mosques were based on it. A mosque is regarded as a place of worship for followers of Islam. Its colossal dimensions, lavish furnishings, and beautiful mosaic-lined walls are all stunning, but it's the dome that steals the show. A sequence of tiny domes, arcades, and arches support the massive dome, which stands 183.5 ft (55.6 m) tall and 103 ft (31.24 m) wide. However, it is not the original dome, which collapsed in 558 CE due to an earthquake. The Blue Mosque and the Topkapi Palace, for example, were both influenced by the dome.

Hagia Sophia was built in only five years.

Building a megastructure today takes several years with contemporary technology; meanwhile, it only took five years to create Hagia Sophia 1500 years ago. However, there were certain inherent benefits back then. They used mostly repurposed stones in the construction process, for example. Carving difficult-to-work-with stones were one of the most difficult aspects of construction throughout the Roman era. To use stones was the solution to the problem that had previously been created for a separate structure that was no longer functional. Human resources were, of course, another benefit. According to certain records, more than 10,000 people labored every day on the construction of Hagia Sophia.

Hagia Sophia located in Istanbul is amongst the most famous structures in Turkey.

Facts About The Hagia Sophia Church

In 325 AD, Constantine I is said to have ordered the Hagia Sophia's original church to be constructed on a pagan temple foundation in Turkey. It was consecrated in 360 by his son, Constantius II.

A fire broke out in a riot following St. John Chrysostom's second expulsion as the patriarch of Constantinople in 404, AD and it was badly damaged. The Roman emperor Constans I repaired and expanded it. The reconstructed structure was rededicated by Theodosius II in 415. During the Nika insurgency in January 532 AD, the church was again burned down, allowing Justinian I to design a beautiful successor.

The neighboring Hagia Irene ('Holy Peace') church was finished first and was considered as the cathedral until the Great Church was finished. Before the late fourth century apart from Hagia Irene, situated in the city center, there were no large churches. The fourth-century church, according to Rowland Mainstone, was not called Hagia Sophia then.

The Church of St Mocius, at the exterior of the Constantinian walls and, must have been tied to a cemetery; along with the Church of the Holy, Apostles were the only other notable churches of the fourth century, despite its name implying that it was larger than other Constantinopolitan churches.

Religious Facts About Hagia Sophia

In 1935, Kemal Ataturk converted Hagia Sophia into a museum. He recognized the building's relevance and significance to both Christians and Muslims. UNESCO has designated Hagia Sophia as a World Heritage Site.

The structure was the largest cathedral in all of Christendom for more than a millennium after its completion. It functioned as the Byzantine world's religious, political, and cultural heritage. After Sultan Mehmed II seized Constantinople and converted it to a mosque, Hagia Sophia became an important Muslim prayer place. He added four minarets at the exterior of the building and also covered the prominent Christian symbols with gold mosaics and Arabian religious text.

Constantine the Great ordered the first church in his new city after adopting Christianity as an officially recognized religion. Christians used to pray in secret places or underground churches before that. Christians began praying in an official church in the Hagia Sophia for the first time in the Roman Empire's realm. As a result, Hagia Sophia is the Roman Empire's oldest church. Sultan Mehmed II intended to pray the first Friday prayer in the Hagia Sophia after the Turks took Istanbul. The Friday noon prayer, according to Islam, is the most important prayer of the week.

In Istanbul, there are hundreds of Roman structures dating from various periods. On the other hand, Hagia Sophia is Istanbul's oldest structure, dating back to the sixth century. Although some other church buildings predate the Hagia Sophia, the Hagia Sophia is the best preserved today.

Over the course of its existence, Hagia Sophia has undergone many changes in its status. Originally found as a Church, it was later transformed into a mosque, then a museum, and more recently again into a mosque. If Hagia Sophia Istanbul further undergoes any changes in its status, it will not come as a surprise to many.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for interesting facts about Hagia Sophia that everyone should know then why not take a look at Hagia Sophia architecture, or how many Eiffel Towers are there.

Written By
Supriya Jain

<p>As a skilled member of the Kidadl team, Shruti brings extensive experience and expertise in professional content writing. With a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from Punjab University and an MBA in Business Administration from IMT Nagpur, Shruti has worked in diverse roles such as sales intern, content writer, executive trainee, and business development consultant. Her exceptional writing skills cover a wide range of areas, including SOP, SEO, B2B/B2C, and academic content.</p>

Read The Disclaimer

Was this article helpful?