Original Caption: Le grand et magnifique temple de Sainte Sophie. Plan du Temple de Sainte Sophie.
This temple has certainly stood the test of time. Originally known as the Megale Ekklesia or “Great Church,” the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey was founded in 360 ACE, though it would not be called Hagia Sophia until 430 AD after the original building had been destroyed. It is the third building on the site that we know today. Built between 532-537 (with a new dome added in 562 after the first one collapsed) and thought to be heavily influenced by the mathematical works of Archimedes (c 287-212 BCE) the Hagia Sophia that stands today is essentially the building that went up a millennium and a half ago. The interior of the building was decorated with bits and pieces harvested from ancient buildings across the Middle East and Mediterranean area. The famous mosaics which still survive, despite the occasional earthquake, were added during the Iconoclasm period of the late 8th and early 9th centuries. When Constantinople became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1453, the Hagia Sophia became a mosque which it remained as for nearly 600 years until the Turkish government desanctified the building in 1934 and turned it into a museum.