Saturday, October 27, 2007
In Istanbul which during the Byzantine Empire was named Constantinople after it's founder Constantine the Great sits the great Church Hagia Sophia. Destroyed twice, the present Church the work of Justinian. He thanked God for allowing him to fulfill his dream and cried with pride, remembering the temple in Jerusalem; "Oh Solomon, I have surpassed Thee." The walls and ceiling were covered in mosaics of Christianity. In 1453 Constantinople was conquered by the Turks. In the 16th century all the Christian mosaics were covered over with Islamic mosaics and symbols. Thankfully the Turkish Government allowed the original mosaics to be uncovered and restored starting since 1938. The top picture shows the Church today with Islamic towers. The next picture below shows what it looked like under the Byzantine rule. The next three shows the inside with the Islamic decor. The bottom two show the restoration of the beautiful Christian mosaics.