The Hagia Sophia, Ayasofya in Turkish, is one the most impressive architectural structures and the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture in the world. The stunning dome, glittering mosaics, marble pillars, and coverings fascinate visitors.
The Hagia Sophia, known as the Church of Holy Wisdom, was commissioned by Emperor Justinian and completed in 537 AD.
Justinian entered the completed church, and he remarked, "Solomon, I have outdone thee!"
For almost a thousand years, the Hagia Sophia was the main cathedral of Constantinople. After the Turkish conquest in 1453, it was used as a mosque for almost five hundred years. In 1935, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk converted it into a museum. It sits in Sultanahmet Square, next to the Topkapi Palace, against the Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque.