Hagia Sophia

It was like coming out of a tomb—leaving the Church of Divine Wisdom— trying to ignore the tourists and cameras that blocked exits, upper galleries and nave. Built more than 1400 years ago it stands as the epitome of Byzantine art— a monument to Christianity and Islam that earthquakes and fires have failed to undermine. Restoration of gold mosaics is obscured by scaffolding nearly two hundred feet high. A mihrab in the apse points in the direction of Mecca. Elsewhere, Christ sits on a throne with an emperor kneeling before him. Marble slabs have been cut in mirror images that…

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