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Istanbul 3 Hagia Sophia

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Published on Feb 27, 2007

http://www.tourvideos.com/ Hagia Sophia was not only the world's biggest church but the tallest, largest man-made enclosed space when it was constructed in 532-537AD for the Emperor Justinian. There was no other building in the ancient world that could compare to this -- nothing came close to this absolute masterpiece of Byzantine architecture. Words and photographs can never truly capture the feeling of standing inside this awesome building.

You feel very small looking up at the dome, which reaches 184 feet from the ground and appears to float above the church without any apparent support, "as if suspended by a chain from heaven," according to the ancient historian Procopius. This illusion of weightlessness and vast space is enhanced by 40 windows circling the dome's base and by two half-domes on either side of the central dome, along with four semi-domes that enlarge the corners. The main walls have dozens of huge windows that flood the interior with light and further expand the apparent size of this great church. The architectural beauty is enhanced by an elaborate richness of mosaics from the Christian era and Muslim calligraphy decorations.

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