ARCHITECT, Byzantine
(active 527-536 in Constantinople)

Interior 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.

In the interior there is a two-storey colonnade which runs along the north, west and south sides, and bears an elegant inscription in twelve Greek hexameters dedicated to the Emperor Justinian, his wife, Theodora, and St Sergius, the patron-saint of the soldiers of the Roman army. Many of the column capitals still bear the monograms of Justinian and Theodora. Nothing remains of the original interior decoration of the church, which contemporary chroniclers describe as being covered in mosaics with walls of variegated marble.

The photo shows the view from the gallery looking south-west.

View the cross section and ground plan of the building.

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