“Holy Wisdom”- that is what the most splendid and famous Byzantine church ever built- Hagia Sophia, means from Greek. This monument has been used as a temple purposed for each of the two most dominant religions, but in present day it is an art museum. The great cathedral is built on the foundations of previous churches from the Byzantine era, as well as a pagan temple.
Hagia Sophia itself is quite intricate and grand in its appearance, but the most spectacular part of it is the dome, measured thirty two meters in diameter. Moreover, the enormous church is beautiful because of the materials that it is made up of- multicolored marble blocks and stones (white, pink, green, yellow), columns, and mosaics ( noble metals, glass, etc.). The museum is positioned where Constantinople previously was- in Istanbul, the biggest and most populated city in the republic Turkey. Emperor Justinian I was the one responsible for its creation, with the help of Isidorus and Anthemius, who came up with the idea of how the cathedral is going to be and look like when finished.
The cathedral was created from 532 CE to 537 CE, after the Nika riots took place in and were therefore silenced in 532 AD by Justinian. There are numerous reasons why Hagia Sophia’s building took place- for one the Nika riots helped Justinian to create something even more striking as the destruction of the previous church gave him inspiration to do so. In this way Justinian not only showed his true dominance to the people ruled by him, but also his and the empire’s connection with Christianity as a whole.
This cathedral showed the true power Christianity holds over the other beliefs and practises, while it would also become the symbol of dominance of another world religion, known as Islam.The UNESCO should consider strongly the idea of giving ‘aid’ to this marvelous piece of cultural heritage, in which melt the art styles and histories of both great empires and religions in peace, harmony, and beauty. This construction is also important simply because it has affected the evolution of differently purposed buildings. There are several reasons behind the need for this monument to be under the protected by UNESCO.
Essentially, the merge of different architectural features makes the cathedral truly “stick out” as a very important monument. An example to this may not only be the particularly specific supports of the massive dome- the pendentives, the intricate and colorful mosaics , but also the wooden minaret and minbars – which show the transition in the church’s purpose during the Turkish empire times, but simultaneously give it a charm like no other building in the world holds. Secondly, the monument is one of the few monuments that on a grand scale have had an influence on the art styles and features of a large majority of constructions- from military to religious.
For instance, the monument gave the standard for domes in Islamic architecture, as in the progress “…Muslim architects developed enormous and varied types of domes…” (http://iieng.org/images/proceedings_pdf/E0516006.pdf) – an example for such Muslim construction includes the Umayyad Masjid.
Additionally, the church- museum should be protected by the organization because of its historical importance- as it was the main cathedral and mosque during Byzantine and Ottoman rule. Today, this precious building is a museum, giving the people a chance to witness the historic beauty of the early Middle Ages. To conclude, I think that the “museum” should be under the international organization’s seal of protection because of a few reasons- the cathedral is very unique and “one-of-a-kind”, its architectural features are historically vital, as well as the sole idea that the cathedral represents the harmony between the two dominant world beliefs and the beauty through the variety.