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.
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.
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.