Trip Start Jun 05, 2006
14Trip End Jun 14, 2006
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Emperor Constantine I (324 - 337 CE) proclaimed Christianity as the official state religion. Constantine began constructing large churches everywhere in Byzantium (aka Constantinople and now Istanbul). Hagia Sophia was dedicated with appropriate pomp and circumstance on February 15, 360. Apparently the first building was constructed with a wooden roof on an oblong basilica fit to serve as the church home of the emperor. And the first name was Megoal Ecclesia which means "colossal church." Eventually the first building burned.
By the fifth century the second building was constructed
Hagia Sophia was the scene of many events throughout the entire history of the Byzantium. Emperors were crowned and victories celebrated. When the Turks conquered Istanbul in 1453, Hagia Sophia was in a devastating shape and eventually the church was made in to a Mosque. Now there are four minarets, and a Muslim prayer alter