Byzantium’s Greatest Building
Here it is: the Church of the Holy Wisdom built by Justinian the Great in the year 537.
Aya Sofya, as it’s known in Turkish, has stood here for almost a millennium and a half, through 120 generations of men and women. It’s not surprising that it may need repairs and restoration now and then.
So it did, and for 17 years, from the late 1990s until recently, the interior was filled with scaffolding necessary to repair the millions of tesserae(tiny tiles) in the gilded mosaics.
In 2012, the scaffolding was gone! It had all been removed in honor of Istanbul’s being the European Capital of Culture that year. This timeless monument was returned to its most awesome appearance. But in 2013, some of the scaffolding returned as work continued on preservation of the monumental building.