» QUALIFIED APPRECIATIONS AT HAGIA SOPHIA

 

Photo EssayHagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey - (c) 2016 Brian Awehali

Spiritually speaking, I’m fairly described as an atheist anarcho-Buddhist, and I didn’t want to go stand in line to look at the Hagia Sophia, one of the oldest and largest monuments to monotheism and feuding totalitarian religious dogma in the world. But F. really wanted to go, and I didn’t have any better plans for the gray and rainy day.

Birds outside the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey - (c) 2016 Brian Awehali

There was a long lemming line to get in, and surly money tenders at the ticket booth. There was a tacky gift shop where you could buy overpriced jewelry and bric-a-brac. There was a lot of scaffolding, and ropes marking off all the places you could not go. Christian mosaics and art battled with prominent Muslim signage and messaging.

Partially intact Christian mural at the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey - (c) 2016 Brian Awehali

But if I just put all of the history and religion out of mind, the Hagia Sophia was a pretty amazing work of architecture, with impressive beauty and some fascinating stone work.

Looking upward from the floor of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey - (c) 2016 Brian Awehali

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