Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya)
Hagia Sophia, aka Ayasofya, is a former Greek Orthodox Christian church that later became an imperial mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. Hagia Sophia has an interesting history, from its construction in 537 AD until 1204, it served as an Orthodox cathedral, between 1204 and 1261 it was converted by the 4th Crusaders to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire of Constantinople. The building was a mosque from 1453 until 1931. It was then secularized and opened as a museum on 1935.
Hagia Sophia is famous for its massive dome, it is considered the perfect example of Byzantine architecture and is said to have changed the history of architecture! The building remained the world's largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520. It was originally constructed as a church between 532 and 537 on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. The church was dedicated to the Wisdom of God, the Logos, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Sophia is the phonetic spelling in Latin of the Greek word for wisdom.
In 1453, the city was conquered by the Ottoman Turks. Although the church had fallen into a state of disrepair, the cathedral made a strong impression on the new Ottoman rulers and they decided to convert it into a mosque. Hagia Sophia is one of the most visited museums in Turkey, attracting millions of visitors annually.