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Aya Sofya is the grand basilica built between 532 and 537 by order of Justinian on the site of earlier emperors had ordered two other churches consecrated to the Divine Wisdom. One of the most important symbols of Istanbul, Hagia Sophia is famous not only for its complex history but also for being one of the greatest works of architecture in the world for size and beauty. For its construction were used polychrome marbles, precious materials and stones, even columns from the temple of Diana at Ephesus and Athens in Egypt. The characteristic of the basilica a huge central dome (831 m. Diameter), apparently without a support, which, together with a daring game of geometric and architectural verticality, gives the interior space of the building a lightweight that an outsider rather short and heavy, it portends. Valuable mosaics dating back to the Byzantine and Christian immediately following, depicting Christ, the saints, the Virgin, emperors and empresses, decorate the interior, beautifully illuminated by the sparkle of millions of gold tiles. It is not surprising that with the fall of Constantinople to the Turks (1453), Mehmet the Conqueror wanted to transform the largest temple of Christianity – the first seat of the Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, then under the rule of the papacy – in a mosque. The minarets, the imperial tombs, the minbar, large circular discs on the walls of the tunnels on which are printed in turkish Muslim holy names, inscriptions of the dome, evidence of the building’s conversion to Islam. For 482 years Hagia Sophia was used as a mosque until Ataturk in 1935, father of the new Turkish Republic, converted it into a museum. When: Tuesday to Sunday: from 9 to 17 (winter), from 9 to 19 (summer). Where: Piazza Aya Sofya Such as: the cost of the ticket is 20 YTL.