Istanbul: Ayasofya Museum.

Coming from a country with a history still relatively young, I'm drawn to cities that are old and have been developed for millennia. Rome is (and likely will always be) my favorite city. But Istanbul is up there as well, with it's history... And especially its architecture. And the oldest piece of influential architecture is the Hagia Sofia, or "Ayasofya."


Built originally as a church, it was eventually transitioned into a mosque about 1000 years after it was built. It's design went on to influence the architecture of other mosques in the area, such as the Blue Mosque.


Ornate design on the domes...


Mosaics that were painted over... Such as the ones of the archangels Michael and Gabriel.


The chandeliers that have been added, which hang low, add to the ornate beauty of the space.


Whenever I walk through structures that are so old, I get very quiet. I'm in awe of the ability to have created something so beautiful without the use of the technology and tools of today. It makes it seem like what we usually live in and work in today is shabby and lame by comparison. Lacking imagination.


Here is one of the few suggestions that the place was originally a cathedral...


As to whether or not it is an original painting... I don't know. I don't believe that it is. My understanding is that all Christian symbology was painted over when the place was turned into a mosque.


Another one, with Mary and Jesus.

The place is a museum. There are art pieces to look at. But I didn't spend much time with them.


The beauty of the place was on the ceiling and walls...



And the light that filtered through the windows...



The place wasn't too crowded. And I found myself in there about an hour. It had a wonderful energy in it. And I will admit, I was having a little bit of fun playing with one of the other guests to the museum...


This little lady kept following me around. She would request to be petted. Then she would run away. We'd bump into each other on various areas, and do the same thing over and over again.

Eventually, we parted ways... As I had to leave. And there was continuous new energy entering the place, so who could blame her for not committing to being by my side?