1-The Hagia Sophia-i Kebir Mosque, which is one of the most important monuments in the history of world architecture; It occupies an important place in the art world with its architecture, splendor, size and functionality.
2- This magnificent work is the biggest church built by the Eastern Roman Empire in Istanbul and it was built three times in the same place. When it was first built, it was called Megale Ekklesia (Great Church), and it was named Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) from the 5th century until the conquest of Istanbul. Megale Ekklesia, built by Emperor Konstantios in 360, and Emperor II. The church that Theodosis had rebuilt in 415 was destroyed in public uprisings.
3- Today’s Hagia Sophia-i Kebir Mosque was built by Emperor Justinianos by two important architects of the period, Anthemios from Tralles (Aydın) and Isidoros from Miletos (Balat).
4- It is understood from the records that a hundred architects working with the two chief architects and a hundred workers under the command of each architect completed the construction of the building in a short period of 5 years and 10 months.
5- The building, which was open to worship as a church for 916 years, was converted into a mosque after the conquest of Istanbul by Fatih Sultan Mehmed in 1453.
6- Immediately after the conquest, the building was strengthened and preserved in the best possible way and continued its existence as a mosque with the Ottoman Period additions.
7- In the 6th and 17th centuries, mihrabs, pulpit, muezzin chambers, sermon lectern and maxura were added to the mosque.
8- The Hagia Sophia-i Kebir Mosque was transformed into a complex structure in the Ottoman Period, with minarets, madrasah, primary school, muvakkithane, fountain, public fountains, sundials, trustees’ room built outside the building in different periods.
9- Hagia Sophia-i Kebir Mosque was converted into a museum in 1934 and served as a museum until 2020. In 2020, it regained the status of a mosque.
10- Dome of Hagia Sophia-i Kebir Mosque
11- The most important feature of Hagia Sophia-i Kebir Mosque in its architecture is that its dome is larger than usual and it dominates the middle space.
12- While the mosque was being built, the architects used marble, stone and brick in the construction of the building; In order for the dome not to collapse easily in earthquakes, specially produced, light and strong bricks were used.
13- The 35th verse of the Surah Nur of the Quran was written by Kazasker Mustafa İzzet Efendi on the area of 11.3 meters in diameter of the main dome.
14- Mosaics of Hagia Sophia-i Kebir Mosque
15- It is adorned with many mosaic ornaments with and without figures from different periods. The most important examples of mosaic decoration that have survived to the present day are the figureless mosaics that can be seen in the nortex area.
16- It is thought that all the figured mosaics in the building were removed during the depiction period. With the end of this period in 843, the first figured mosaic made in the building is the Apsis Mosaic.
17- There are figured mosaics made at different dates in many parts of the building, including the gallery floor, Tympanon Wall, narthex, vestibule entrance, and priest rooms.
19- Mahmud I Library
20- One of the most important Ottoman additions in the world is the library built by Sultan Mahmud I in 1739. It consists of the Library, the Reading Hall, the Hazine-i Kutub (the room where the books are preserved) and the corridor between these two sections.
21- The Reading Room is separated from the main space of the building by a window with six columns with diamond-shaped headings and a bronze network covering it. The two winged doors providing the entrance to the library are covered with a bronze network decorated with flowers and curved branches and has two handles engraved ‘Ya Fattah’. The walls of the reading room are decorated with tile writing and writing friezes. On the wall opposite the door, there is a sultan’s signature from Sultan Mahmud I, bordered with green tiles.
22- In the reading section of the library, there are wooden rahles decorated with mother-of-pearl inlaid technique in the form of a low, small table on which books can be read, written, some of which can be opened, and two mother-of-pearl, ivory-coated Quran cases in which the Koran are protected.
23- Iznik, Kütahya, Tekfur Palace tiles belonging to the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries were used together in the library. The 16th century Iznik tiles in the Treasury and the composition of spring flowers in the corridor of the same century are the best examples of Turkish tile art. After the library was completed, Sultan Mahmud I sent the books from the Galata Saray-ı Hümayun here; He also had the valuable books in Topkapı Palace Treasury-i Hümayun sealed with his own seal and carried here. Approximately 5 thousand manuscript books in the library were moved to the Süleymaniye Library in 1969.