When one thinks of the Church of Hagia Sophia, the firist thing that comes to mind is the large dome, spacious interior and elaborate decoration. Whatever happened to it's many uses? And how it is the second largest Byzantine dome standing today, or the fact that it was burnt down twice before they figured out that wood wasn't an archaic building material? These points, along with an architectural description will accompany this paper.
Hagia Sophia is located in Constantinople, or, modern day Istanbul, but it was always as beautiful as we can see today in the 21st century. The first "Great Church" was dedicated by Constantius on February 15, 360, and was later dedicated to the "Immortal Wisdom of Christ" (footnote). Just forst four years later in June of 404, the original church was burned down by a riotous mob. Thisd was not the only time the Great Church was burned.
Again in 532, the Nika Riots brought Hagia Sophia to the ground for the last time.
When Justinian took the thrown, he undertook the great rebuilding of the Great Church. According to Procopius, he remarks that Justinian "gathered together all skilled workmen from the whole earth... there were a hundred foremen" (footnote).
The Great Church of Hagia Sophia was used as more than just a Christian place of worship. This church was utilized by the Muslims, Catholics and the Orthodox. Built by Anthemios of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus, Hagia Sophia remains as one of the largest man-made structures in the world. The original materials used in the first structure were wood, even for the dome. The structure was a basilican plan, and was to include a wooden roof and dome. These materials may have seemed useful and archaic at the time of Constantius, but were...