Photographer's Note

It is mostly the dome which makes Hagia Sophia world famous. At the center of the square in the centre of Hagia Sophia was a square. The dome sits at the centre of the structure, over one hundred and eighty feet above the square. It is between two half domes which together equals to the diameters of the dome. The dome is built by brick and mortar; it is 31 meters (102 feet) in diameter and is 55 meters (182 feet) high. Because of the several repairs and constructions in time, the dome lost its circular shape and the diameter became 30.86 meters (101 feet 3 in).

At over a hundred feet across it was by far the largest dome ever constructed at the time and often compared to the vault of heaven itself. The dome was supported by four huge columns at the corners of the square. At the east and west ends of the rectangle the roofs consisted of two half domes which leaned in toward the main dome giving it support. In turn, at each end of the building other smaller half domes leaned in on the sides of the east and west half domes holding them in position. At the north and south exteriors of the central square of the building were two huge, rounded arches that helped support the roof.

You will also notice in the frame the huge circular medallion with fine Arabic calligraphy. There are eight such wooden and leather medallions (7.5 m = 24.6 feet diameter) with Arabic inscriptions on them, these are names belonging to, starting from the right of the apse going to the left: Allah and Muhammad (over the apse); the first four Caliphs Abu Bakr, Omar, Osman and Ali (at the four corners of the dome); and the two grandchildren of the Prophet, Hasan and Husayn (in the nave).

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7851 W: 324 N: 16060] (56760)
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