Küçük Ayasofya Camii


Pentax K10D, at Istanbul

The name of the recently restored church (Little Haghia Sophia, Kücük Ayasofya) derives from its supposed architectural resemblance to that of the great Haghia Sophia (Ayasofya), though it is older than the latter. It was built by the emperor Justinian in 527 AD and was originally known as the Church of SS Sergius and Bacchus.The architect of the building is unknown but its architecture is very similar to that of the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne built by Mimar Sinan, of the St. Vitale Church in Ravenna and even to that of the Cathedral of Aaachen in Germany.It is one of the most important buildings in the history of architecture.

Its extraordinary design shows no resemblance whatever to that of earlier churches. The dome is based on sixteen segments covering a rectangular, almost square, structure with eight pairs of columns forming an octagon. On the ground floor, in the area between the walls and the marble columns, there is an arched ambulatory. On the upper floor, there is a second gallery. Originally, the walls were decorated with beautiful marbles and mosaics. The medrese in front of the building was built by the architect Kapi Agasi Hüseyin Aga who, in the 16th century, converted the church into a mosque.

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