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Little Hagia Sophia

Little Hagia Sophia

Little Hagia Sop. (Küçük Ayasofya Camii), former Greek Orthodox church during the Byzantine period, currently functions as a mosque. Hagia Sophia Museum, Chora Mosque (Church of St. Saviour and Chora), and Fethiye Mosque (Pammakaristos Church) were other important Byzantine churches in Istanbul that were converted into mosques which are now museum. The original name of Little Hagia S. was “The Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus” which was dedicated to two young saints: St. Sergius and St. Bacchus.

The Church of Sts. Sergius and Bacchus was built in 536 CE by Justinian I, who also built Hagia Sophia, Underground Cistern, and many other important landmarks. Therefore, Justinian I is also called “Justinian the Builder.”

Architecture of Little Hagia S. church is unique and not similar with Hagia Sophia. The structure has an octagonal nave inscribed within an irregular rectangle and is covered by 17 meters diameter umbrella dome.

The church was converted into a mosque in 1513, sixty years after the conquest of Constantinople. Transformation of the church was commissioned by Hüseyin Ağa, who was the Chief Eunuch of the Topkapı Palace in the first quarter of the sixteenth century. Today, the temple functions as a mosque and welcomes visitors everyday except prayer times.

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