The Hagia Sophia is a historical monument located in Istanbul. Since its construction, it has served different purposes including being used as a church, mosque, and now a museum. It has survived earthquakes and religious struggles. Here are some secrets about the place.
It was Constructed as a Cathedral
The Hagia Sophia was constructed between 532 and 537 AD by the orders of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. It served as a Cathedral for the Eastern Orthodox Church until 1453 AD when Istanbul was conquered by the Ottoman Empire. On the orders of Sultan Mehmed II, it was converted to a mosque.
It has Survived Earthquakes
The Hagia Sophia has suffered earthquake damages several times. It has therefore been repaired many times. It was first hit by an earthquake in 553 AD and later in 557 AD causing cracks in the main dome. It has since suffered other earthquakes but still stand even though parts of it were destroyed.
Hagia Sophia has a well in the centre of its main hall, which is believed to have healing powers. It is able to cure heart diseases and others diseases. To receive the healing, the sick person must visit the well on Saturdays three times in a row. He or she will have to drink a glass water from the well on each of their visits.
The Deesis Mosiac
Since it was used as a cathedral, it contains many Christian mosaics including the Deesis Mosiac. This particular mosaic was created in 1264 AD and was meant to be the image of Jesus Christ. However, it is said that it is the image of Apollonius of Tyana.
The Seraphim Mosiacs
The Hagia Sophia also has some mosaics of seraphim. The mosaic, which was hidden for 160 years are on the pendentives supporting the dome. It remained in secret because layers of plasters were covering them. This happened the edifice was converted into a mosque.
The Hagia Sophia has a column known as the Perspiring Column or Wishing Column, which is made of marbles. The mysterious thing about the column is the fact that it stays wet even in summer and it is believed to have healing powers. The bronze plate at the lower section of the column contains a hole. If the sick puts his or her thumb in the hole and rub at the affected area, they get healed.
Conversion into a Museum
After serving as a cathedral and a mosque, the Hagia Sophia has been converted into a museum. The conversion took place in 1935 on the orders of President Mustapha Kemal Ataturk, the founder of Republic of Turkey.