Santa Sophia connects modern Turkey to ancient Byzantium, once the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. Santa Sophia's builders worked at the start of this little-remembered era. Santa Sophia, church and architectural masterpiece, was at the city's heart for over a millenium of Byzantine history.
The Ottoman era started with a massive effort to add mosques of similar grandeur. Sultans hoped that the new buildings would compete with Santa Sophia's domininance of the skyline. But it dominates still. My first reading project now that I'm back is to learn more about the Byzantine era.
Here are two photos that we took: Santa Sophia in 2006.
SANTA SOPHIA FROM THE BLUE MOSQUE
SANTA SOPHIA FROM A FERRY BOAT, LATE AFTERNOON