11 February 2016

Those Places Thursday: Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia is my bucket list. There is no genealogical reason to visit. To my knowledge my family has no connection to the sacred building. All the same, I will die a happy woman if I could visit the Hagia Sophia.

So what is the Hagia Sophia? Located in Istanbul, it is truly a wonder. Her name means “Holy Wisdom.” For over 900 years, it was a Church. Then, for just shy of 500 years, she stood as a mosque. Now it is a museum with visual remnants of its past lives. It has stood as a museum since 1935.

It has been built and rebuilt three times in the same location. It was first built in 360 by Emperor Kanstantios. It was burned down in a public riot in 404. A little more than a decade later, in 415, it was rebuilt by Emperor Theodosios II. This church too was destroyed after a public riot in January 532. Construction for the third structure began the next month and the church was complete by December 537.

From 537 to 1453, she stood as the seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople. So perhaps, one could suggest that the Hagia Sophia is on my bucket list as a pilgrimage of sorts. There were a few years during that glorious period – from 1204 to 1261 – when the Latin Empire claimed her for the Roman Catholic Church. From 1453 until 1931, the building was used as a mosque.


Those Places Thursday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

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Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.