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Virgin Mary And Christ Child
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Once the largest church in Christendom, the Hagia Sophia was transitioned to a mosque, and much later to a museum, following the Seljuk Turks conquest of Constantinople in 1453. The immense church, at the time of conquest the seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople and the primary church in Eastern Christianity, was once filled with Christian mosaics, frescoes, art and symbols. Following the 1453 conversion, the Byzantine images were whitewashed over or removed. A few remnants were later recovered and are now on display for visitors.
The current structure dates back to Emperor Justinian, inaugurated in 537 CE. Installation of mosaics began under Justinian II (565-578). The Deesis Mosaic featured here dates to the 12th century.
The present Hagia Sophia replaced two previous churches on the site: the first completed in 360 under Emperor Constantine II & the second completed under Theodosius II in 415.
The Hagia Sophia is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site within the recognized Historic Areas of Istanbul.
Image captured with a Canon 5D Mark III & Canon 16-35 f/2.8L USM lens.
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Orthodox Christian Beauty
August 18th, 2014
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