architects: Anthemius of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus
Istanbul, Turkey (Byzantium)
Form: This is a central-plan design that expands on the original basilican design. The design incorporates the use of pendentives, buttressing half domes, and arch and dome technology creating a large many storied central area. Expands on the concept, engineering and design function of the Pantheon by adding cross vaulting technology that the Romans had developed. A good example of this cross vaulting technology is in the Basilica of Constantine. Decorative forms (in terms of two-dimensional designs) inside the Hagia Sofia reflect early Byzantine Style, which means that even up to the 1300's they are still using many of the same things in the Hagia Sofia to depict people.
Iconography: The name Hagia Sofia can be translated as "Holy Wisdom." The plan has the form of a Greek cross surmounted by a dome which as in the Pantheon is a symbol of the dome of heaven. The engineering used is also symbolic of the power and intelligence of Constantine's empire.
Context: The geographic location of Hagia Sofia places it in the region of Byzantium. The city where they moved the empire to is called Constantinople that is in modern day Turkey, and is also now called Istanbul. The four minarets that surround it were built later. They were added by the Muslims to them to call the faithful to worship after the church was transformed into a mosque. A mosque is an Islamic place of worship. The ornamentation of the interior is Islamic looking.
To learn more please visit: