The Magical Story of Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia is considered one of the most iconic buildings in world history. Located in the heart of Istanbul, this magnificent structure has been fascinating its visitors for centuries. Today, we would like to dive into the deep history of Hagia Sophia by sitting in a place close to this historical building, Deraliye Terrace.

History of Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia was first built in 537 by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian as a great church. It is known for the uniqueness of its structure, the vastness of its dome and the engineering achievement of the period in which it was built. For centuries, Hagia Sophia served as the most important church of Orthodox Christianity.

In 1453, after the Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople, Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque. Minarets were added and some changes were made to the interior. In 1935, it was converted into a museum by the Republic of Turkey. Years later, on July 10, 2020, Hagia Sophia was converted back into a mosque.

The Roots of Hagia Sophia

Although the history of Hagia Sophia dates back to 537, there were already important religious buildings on the land on which this magnificent structure stands. The first Hagia Sophia was built by Emperor Constantius in 360. However, this structure was damaged by various uprisings and fires.

Justinian's Dream

It was during the reign of Emperor Justinian that Hagia Sophia reached its present form. While rebuilding Constantinople, Justinian wanted to realize his dream of building the largest cathedral in the world. The current structure of Hagia Sophia is the result of this vision. During the construction process, the finest materials were employed, as well as the most skilled engineers and craftsmen. The result was an architectural masterpiece.

Ottoman Period

After the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, Mehmet the Conqueror decided to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque. During this conversion, some of the Christian figures and mosaics inside the building were covered, four minarets were added and the interior was redesigned with features of Islamic art. Throughout the Ottoman period, Hagia Sophia underwent many restorations and many additions were made during this time.

Modern Period

With the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a museum in 1935 under the leadership of Atatürk, this unique structure was opened to both local and foreign tourists. The Christian and Islamic elements inside the building turned into a mosaic reflecting the history of Istanbul, where different cultures and religions lived together.

Hagia Sophia through the Eyes of Evliya Çelebi

The famous 17th century traveler Evliya Çelebi wrote about the unique beauties of Istanbul and Hagia Sophia in his work Seyahatname. His stories about this magnificent building add a different perspective to the history of Hagia Sophia.

Evliya Çelebi was impressed by the grandiose structure and size of Hagia Sophia. In his Seyahatname, he mentions legends circulating among the locals about how the dome of Hagia Sophia was made so large and perfect. These legends claim that angels helped in the construction of Hagia Sophia and that the dome was supported by celestial forces.

He also describes in detail the mosaics inside Hagia Sophia, its pulpit and mihrab. These descriptions provide valuable information on how Hagia Sophia was used as a mosque during the Ottoman period.

Evliya Çelebi's memoirs show that Hagia Sophia is not just a building, but has a history woven with legends and stories that have been admired by many people over the centuries.

Hagia Sophia View at Deraliye Terrace

Deraliye Terrace is one of the rare places in Istanbul where you can enjoy the magnificent view of Hagia Sophia in its shadow. This restaurant has an atmosphere that preserves its historical texture and offers a breathtaking view of Hagia Sophia.

Here, you can immerse yourself in the story of Hagia Sophia and indulge in the delicious food served at Deraliye Terrace. Especially at sunset, the reflection of Hagia Sophia's silhouette in the sky will further increase your admiration for this historical building.

Hagia Sophia is the perfect gateway to dive into the depths of history. Every moment you spend at Deraliye Terrace allows you to feel the magic of this historical building even more closely. The unique story of Hagia Sophia and the unique atmosphere of Deraliye Terrace Restaurant are waiting for you to make unforgettable memories in Istanbul.