ARCHITECT, Byzantine
(active 527-536 in Constantinople)

Exterior view

Little Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

The present Little Hagia Sophia Mosque is the former Greek Eastern Orthodox church dedicated to Saints Sergius and Bacchus in Constantinople. It was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman Empire.

This Byzantine building with a central dome plan, erected in the sixth century by Justinian I, likely was a model for Hagia Sophia, and is one of the most important early Byzantine buildings in Istanbul. It was constructed between 527 and 536, only a short time before the erection of the Hagia Sophia between 532 and 537. It was believed that the building had been designed by the same architects, Isidorus of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles. However, the building is quite different in architectural detail from the Hagia Sophia.

The building has the shape of an octagon inscribed in an irregular quadrilateral. It is surmounted by an umbrella dome in sixteen compartments with eight flat sections alternating with eight concave ones, standing on eight polygonal pillars. The narthex lies on the west side, opposed to an antechoir. The central plan was repeated in the basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna.

The photo shows the rear view of the church from northeast.

View the ground plan of the building.

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