ARCHITECT, Byzantine
(active 530s in Constantinople)

Exterior view

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

The Hagia Sophia ("Holy Wisdom") is a former Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal basilica, later an Ottoman imperial mosque and now a museum. It was constructed on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I between 532 and 537, and was the third Church of the Holy Wisdom to occupy the site, the prior one having been destroyed by rioters in the Nika Revolt. It was designed by the Greek geometers Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles.

The building was famous for its massive dome. The minarets were built in the 16th century. From its initial conversion into mosque in 1453 until the construction of the nearby Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque of Istanbul) in 1616, it was the principal mosque of Istanbul. The Byzantine architecture of the Hagia Sophia served as inspiration for many other Ottoman mosques.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.