Haghia Sophia 1 Haghia Sophia: stairway to heaven Haghia Sophia: stairway 2 Haghia Sophia: Sultan’s Loge Haghia Sophia: chandelier Haghia Sophia: a blur of tourists Haghia Sophia: Jar and couple Haghia Sophia: Jar and pot-belly
Elaine and I flew into Turkey on Saturday, for a study tour on the Ottoman Empire, based in Istanbul. Today, we visited places like the Hippodrome, the Blue Mosque and the church of St Saviour in Chora. But the place that I had wanted to visit since I was a child, and which we visited during the afternoon, was Haghia Sophia. I would put it on a par with Krak des Chevaliers, Syria, in terms of places that have moved me profoundly. The scaffolding in the interior, ahead of Istanbul’s becoming City of Culture in 2010, probably annoys many, but I found the ‘stairway to heaven’ effect rather appropriate.