Aya Sofya

sights / Historic

Lonely Planet review

Originally a great Justinianic church, Aya Sofya is now a crumbling, neglected ruin slumbering in a rose garden. The building encompasses ruins of three different structures. A mosaic floor and mural of Jesus, Mary and John the Baptist survive from the original church. Destroyed by a 1065 earthquake, it was later rebuilt with the mosaics set into the walls. The Ottomans made it a mosque, but a 16th-century fire again destroyed it. Reconstruction supervised by the great architect Mimar Sinan added İznik tiles to the decoration.