For almost seven centuries for the main attraction of Istanbul is a struggle of different faiths. Sofia and had time to visit the Orthodox and Catholic cathedral and mosque
Temple built on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. It took a little time this record – less than six years, construction was completed in 537. Sophia drew not only contemporaries of Justinian, but medieval artists. However, the temple they could only judge from the stories of pilgrims, so portrayed him on the basis of their own very vague ideas (in the illustration of the Book of Psalms). Temple attracted not only artists and pilgrims, but the Crusaders captured Istanbul between 1206 and 1261 years. Services performed in the temple and the Orthodox and Catholics.
Having conquered Constantinople in 1453, Mehmet the Conqueror entered the temple on the horse, but, admiring its beauty, commanded to turn the temple into a mosque. Around the cathedral erected minarets, domes appeared on crescents. In this architecture the Hagia Sophia was seriously damaged, as evidenced by the numerous images of the temple. Mosaic with the saints was not shot down, and daubed with plaster. In Sofia mosque status existed for almost 500 years.
C 1935 by order of the founder of the modern Turkish state, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Sophia became a museum. But the debate did not cease: Orthodox cathedral want to return to its original status, and Muslims – to turn the museum into a mosque. While Sophia remains a place of pilgrimage for tourists from around the world.