19 May 2012

Hagia Sophia

Photos by Aditya Pradana 

Hagia Sophia was once an Orthodox basilica, once a mosque, once a cathedral for the Greeks, and once was a Roman Catholic cathedral. There is a lot of story going on there, merged under one dome - a pendentive dome that is.
Spot the history under the dome
Architecturally speaking, it has one of the largest domes in the world, just second after Pantheon in Rome. The special thing about it is that the dome is pendentive, which means it is a circular (or elliptical) dome sitting on a square room. The easiest way to imagine a pendentive is to project the circular surface onto the corners of a square.
It is considered as one of the essence of Byzantine architecture, marking the glory of that era. Imagining the structure was built around the 6th century, it is pretty amazing that some of the artworks are still well-preserved. Here is one gold mosaic, in which if you look closely was built upon approximately one by one centimeter square tiles. Oh the labor of art! And mind you, this is just one wall of the whole Hagia Sophia. Similar to this, there is also St. Mark's Basilica in Venice which was built during the Byzantine era too, so they have some similarities in terms of style and aims. I suppose one of the objectives of it was to flaunt the glory of the empire and that could almost be felt throughout the styling of objects, like  weapons, clothes, cutlery, weapons, and of course jeweleries. The amount of ornamentation pretty much tells the story.
I agree with the notion of recording and documenting ideas. I think, they are virtuous things to do, for you would be able to have your own keepsake of a place and to share it with others. The idea of preserving moments is one thing that really enjoy doing, especially during my travel. Important enough for me to record things through drawings, photos and writings as well as to embrace the presence of what is palpable through my senses. Nevertheless, do not get too carried away recording things, as some things can only be appreciated in situ. There are just things that belong at where they are and not meant to be shelled through lenses or pages of a book.
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