There has always been a sense of awe when traveling in Europe and thinking about the history of the places I have visited. This feeling was particularly acute during our visit to the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.
Now known officially the Hagia Sophia Holy Grand Mosque, it was built in 537 as the patriarchal cathedral of the imperial capital of Constantinople, and it was the largest Christian church of the eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire and the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Built by the eastern Roman emperor Justinian I as the Christian cathedral of Constantinople for the state church of the Roman Empire between 532 and 537, the church was then the world's largest interior space and among the first to employ a fully pendentive dome. It is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture. Photo © copyright by Brian Divelbiss.