Little Hagia Sophia - free and beautiful
Only a few people know that there is not only the renowned Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya) in Istanbul, but also the Little Hagia Sophia (Küçük Ayasofya Camii). So unfortunately it is often literally overseen by many tourists, even though it is also located in Sultanahmet, only a few minutes downhill from the Hippodrome. And moreover the oldest surviving Byzantine monument in Istanbul.
Little Hagia Sophia (Küçük Ayasofya Camii) - free and beautiful
|The Little Hagia Sophia, Istanbul|
Being older as the big Hagia Sophia and supposedly a miniature version of the Hagia Sophia, the attribute little makes perfectly sense. It was built by the same architects during the reign of Emperor Justinian I. But actually it differs in terms of architecture and therefore mainly the name stuck, making it the Little Hagia Sophia over times until today.
Nevertheless it is very beautiful and provides an interesting interior design and architecture. Originally build as a church, being the first and largest on in Constantinople, it was called Church of St. Sergius and Bacchus. The legend goes that the church was the first project of Justinian I, as those saints saved him from being executed. After the Ottoman conquest in 1453 tough it was converted to the mosque it still is today. Making it an interesting mixture of Greco-Roman and Islamic art.
The architecture of Küçük Ayasofya Camii
|Dome - Litte Hagia Sophia|
|Interior Little Hagia Sophia|
Here one can find a vast amount of pictures for the first impression.
Once you enjoyed the Little Hagia Sophia, do not miss out on the Palace of Boukoleon, one of the Byzantine palaces in Constantinople, which is situated close-by. It was probably built by Theodosius II in the 5th century, and the ruins are still quite impressive.