Hagia Sophia III – Looking Around

IMG_3470Just some random pictures taken at the Hagia Sophia to give you a bit more of the flavour of the place.

I am a big fan of digital photography, though I admit mine was a forced conversion: my beloved Canon FTb camera, which I had owned for more than 20 years, was stolen a few years ago. No-one else in the family had ever learned to use it, so it made sense to replace it with a simpler digital camera.IMG_3559

I have found that digital makes a real difference when travelling. With film you are always trying for that perfect shot, but since film and processing is expensive (and even was when I was doing my own) you tend to pick your spots. With digital it is easier to get that perfect shot because your primary limitation is memory, which these days is relatively inexpensive. Most of the pictures I use here have different versions with slightly different angles or lighting. At the Hagia Sophia I took about 140 pictures. Digital editing is simple too, though I must admit I haven’t done it here. This blog is more about the written word than the pictures, they are here as accents – they are not the story.

Tile panel in the corridor.

Tile panel in the corridor.

Perhaps the biggest advantage to me of all that digital memory is the photos you don’t see. When visiting museums I usually take picture not just of the things that interest me but of the accompanying descriptions. My memory is imperfect and I may not remember if that mosaic is from the 11th or 13th century, but I have a picture from the museum that will tell me. That’s how I know that small column is a porphyry altar from the second century. As near as I can tell it is called that because it is made of porphyry stone; that I looked up after getting home from Turkey.

I said a couple of days ago that the Hagia Sophia is a must-see for anyone who visits Istanbul. That is partly due to its history, partly due to culture and to a large extent because of its beauty, both in its architecture and its contents. I hope you have enjoyed our visit over the past three days.

The Porphyry Altar is from the second century.

The Porphyry Altar is from the second century.

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Frescoes on the ceiling.

Frescoes on the ceiling.

Sultan Mahmud I's library and reading room  was built in the Hagia Sophia in 1739. I guess they took the books out so the tourists don't walk off with them.

Sultan Mahmud I’s library and reading room was built in the Hagia Sophia in 1739. I guess they took the books out so the tourists don’t walk off with them.

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