Hagia Sophia

The Hagia Sophia

The Hagia Sophia is a huge domed structure in Istanbul, Turkey. The building have served as both a Christian basilica and a Islamic mosque, and is now a museum. Built between 532 and 537 under the orders of Byzantine king Justantine I on the spot for two earlier basilicas, the Hagia Sophia was to become the largest cathedral in the world, a title it held for over a milennia. When is was finished, and opened as a Eastern Orthodox cathedral, Justantine exclaimed: "Solomon, I have outdone thee!" However, the structure had one great design flaw: the dome. Although it was specially constructed for surviving earthquakes, the architects had to speed up the construction and the dome was left vulnerable. After 20 years, the dome cracked and collapsed during an earthquake. The nephew of one of the main architects redesigned the entire dome, and he suceeded where his ancestors had failed: the new dome survived, and still stands today, the many earthquakes. After the Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinopal (Istanbul) the cathedral was reinvented as a mosque, and would actually serve as an inspiration for many future mosques, including the nearby Blue Mosque. Four minarets were added. Today, the Hagia Sophia is Istanbul, and perhaps Turkey's, greatest attraction and still stands as a great monument from Byzantine architecture. But for how long?

1000 Years after People: In the former city of Istanbul, only two things rise up from the overgrown wastelands: The Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. Both of them have survived countless earthquakes, but who will be the victor in the end? A big earthquake strikes the Mediterranian area, and brings down other weakened structures such as Colosseum and The Parthenon. In Istanbul, the rivalry has know ended. The dome of the Blue Mosque caves in and collapses, destroying the balance of the structure and collapses. It's minarets tumbles on top of the heap. But strangely, the Hagia Sophia still stands tall. Although most of its minarets are gone, the desing of them causes them to fall outwards from the building, the dome still stands tall.

1500 Years after People: Few things in Europe are still standing recognizable. In Istanbul, the long reign of the Hagia Sophia has come to a halt. It's not a design flaw that will bring down the great monument, it's the pure lack of maintance. Much like it did 3000 years ago, the dome cracks at the middle, and collapses down into the structure. Weakened colums and arch cannot stand the press, and the former cathedral, mosque and museum falls down in a heap of dust.

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