Hagia Sofia…Meeting point of the world’s religions…
The walls of Hagia Sophia represent a blend between symbols of Christianity and Islamic arts. In its 1,400 year life-span it has served as a cathedral, mosque and now a museum. Hagia Sophia, also called Church of the Holy Wisdom or Church of the Divine Wisdom, built in the 6th century CE (532–537) under the direction of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I. It was the biggest church in the world for 916 years until the construction of Seville Cathedral in Spain in 1520 was completed. In 1453, Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Empire under Mehmed the Conqueror, who ordered this main church of Eastern Orthodox Christianity converted into a mosque. During 15th and 16th centuries a minbar, mihrab and wooding railings were built. Periods minarets, fountains and tombs were added later. Hagia Sophia was used as a mosque for 482 years. It remained in use as a mosque until as recently as 1931, when it was closed down for four years to be reopened as a museum in 1935 by the first President of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
In the Hagia Sophia Museum, which contains many mysteries belonging to the Christian world with its symbols statues and underground tunnels, another great secret was uncovered during the restoration work carried out in 2009. During the restoration work, 6 winged angel figures were unearthed which thought to be 700 years old, covered with plaster and metal masks. These angels, called Seraphim, are mentioned in Christian references as the keeper of heaven and the protector of God’s throne. Seraphim means ‘’the burning ones’’ because of their closeness to the throne of God. The angels have 6 wings; 2 covering the feet, 2 covering the face and 2 outstretched, ready to fly.