Little Hagia Sophia


Little Hagia Sophia
Little Hagia Sophia
Küçuk Ayasofya Camii

Little Hagia Sophia in 2010

Basic information
Location Istanbul, Turkey
Geographic coordinates 41°00′10″N 28°58′19″E / 41.00278°N 28.97194°E / 41.00278; 28.97194
Affiliation Sunni Islam
Year consecrated between 1506 and 1513
Architectural description
Architect(s) Isidorus of Miletus, Anthemius of Tralles
Architectural type church
Architectural style Byzantine
Groundbreaking 527
Completed 536

Little Hagia Sophia (Turkish: Küçuk Ayasofya Camii), formerly the Church of the Saints Sergius and Bacchus (Greek: Eκκλησία τῶν Άγίων Σεργίου καί Βάκχου ὲν τοῖς Ὸρμίσδου), is a former Eastern Orthodox church dedicated to Saints Sergius and Bacchus in Constantinople, later converted into a mosque during the Ottoman Empire.

This Byzantine building with a central dome plan was erected in the 6th century and was a model for the Hagia Sophia, the main church of the Byzantine Empire. It is one of the most important early Byzantine buildings in Istanbul.

Contents

Location

The building stands in Istanbul, in the district of Fatih and in the neighborhood of Kumkapi, at a short distance from the Marmara Sea, near the ruins of the Great Palace and to the south of the Hippodrome. It is now separated from the sea by the Sirkeci-Halkalı suburban railway line and the coastal road.

History

Byzantine period

Plan of the building
A particular of the Colonnade

According to later legend, during the reign of Justin I, his nephew Justinian had been accused of plotting against the throne and was sentenced to death. However, in a dream, the saints Sergius and Bacchus appeared before Justin and vouched for Justinian’s innocence. He was freed and restored to his title of Caesar, and in gratitude vowed that he would dedicate a church to the saints once he became emperor. The construction of this Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus, between 527 and 536 AD (only a short time before the erection of the Hagia Sophia between 532 and 537), was one of the first acts of the reign of Justinian I.[1]

It lay at the border between the First and Τhird Regio of the City.[2] The location that was chosen for the new church was an irregular area between the Palace of Hormisdas (the house of Justinian before his accession to the throne) and the Church of the Saints Peter and Paul. Back then, the two churches shared the same narthex, atrium and propylaea. The new church became the center of the complex, and part still survives today, towards the south of the northern wall of one of the two other edifices. The church was one of the most important religious structures in Constantinople. Shortly after the building of the church a monastery bearing the same name was built near the edifice.

Due to its strong external resemblance to the Hagia Sophia, it is believed that the building had been designed by the same architects, namely Isidorus of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles, and that its erection was a kind of "dress rehearsal" for that of the largest church of the Byzantine Empire. However, in terms of architectural details, the building is quite different in design from the Hagia Sophia and the notion that it was but a small-scale version has largely been discredited. [1]

During the years 536 and 537, the Palace of Hormisdas became a Monophysite monastery, where followers of that sect, coming from the eastern regions of the Empire and escaping the persecutions against them, found protection by Empress Theodora. [3]

In year 551 Pope Vigilius, who some years before had been summoned to Constantinople by Justinian, found refuge in the church from the soldiers of the Emperor who wanted to capture him, and this attempt caused riots. [3] During the Iconoclastic period the monastery became one of the centers of this movement in the City.

Ottoman period

22 December 2010: Muslim prayers in the mosque.

After the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the church remained untouched until the reign of Bayezid II. Then (between 1506 and 1513) it was transformed into a mosque by Hüseyin Ağa, the chief of the Aghas, (Black Eunuchs) who were the custodians of the Bab-ı-Saadet (literally The Gate of Felicity in Ottoman Turkish) in the Sultan's residence, the Topkapı Palace. At that time the portico and madrasah were added to the building. [4]

In 1740 the Grand Vizier Hacı Ahmet Paşa restored the mosque and built the Şadırvan (fountain). Damage caused by the earthquakes of 1648 and 1763 were repaired in 1831 under the reign of Sultan Mahmud II. In 1762 the minaret was first built. It was demolished in 1940 and built again in 1956. [4]

The pace of decay of the building, which already suffered because of humidity and earthquakes through the centuries, accelerated after the construction of the railroad. The laying down of the railroad caused parts of St. Peter and Paul to be demolished to the south of the building. Other damage was caused by the building's use as housing for the refugees during the Balkan Wars. [4]

Due to the increasing threats to the building's static integrity, it was added some years ago to the UNESCO watch list of endangered monuments. The World Monuments Fund added it to its Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites in 2002, 2004, and 2006. After an extensive restoration which lasted several years and ended in September 2006, it has been opened again to the public and for worship.

Architecture

Exterior

The exterior masonry of the structure adopts the usual technique of that period in Constantinople, which uses bricks sunk in thick beds of mortar. The walls are reinforced by chains made of small stone blocks.

The building, the central plan of which was consciously repeated in the basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna and served as a model for the famous Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan in the construction of the Rüstem Pasha Mosque, has the shape of an octagon inscribed in an irregular quadrilateral. It is surmounted by a beautiful umbrella dome in sixteen compartments with eight flat sections alternating with eight concave ones, standing on eight polygonal pillars.

The narthex lies on the west side, opposed to an antechoir.[5] Many effects in the building were later used in Hagia Sophia: the exedrae expand the central nave on diagonal axes, colorful columns screen the ambulatories from the nave, and light and shadow contrast deeply on the sculpture of capitals and entablature.[6]

In front of the building there is a portico (which replaced the atrium) and a court (both added during the Ottoman period), with a small garden, a fountain for the ablutions and several small shops.

Interior

Inside the edifice there is a beautiful two-storey colonnade which runs along the north, west and south sides, and bears an elegant inscription in twelve Greek hexameters dedicated to the Emperor Justinian, his wife, Theodora, and Saint Sergius, the patron-saint of the soldiers of the Roman army. For some unknown reason, Saint Bacchus is not mentioned. The columns are alternately of verd antique and red Synnada marble; the lower storey has 16, while the upper has 18. Many of the column capitals still bear the monograms of Justinian and Theodora. [7]

Nothing remains of the original interior decoration of the church, which contemporary chroniclers describe as being covered in mosaics with walls of variegated marble. During the Ottoman conversion into a mosque, the windows and entrance were modified, floor level raised, and interior walls plastered.[6]

Grounds

North of the edifice there is a small Muslim cemetery with the türbe of Hüseyin Ağa, the founder of the mosque.

Notes

  1. ^ a b Freely (2000), p. 137
  2. ^ Müller-Wiener (1977), p. 177
  3. ^ a b Müller-Wiener (1977), p. 178
  4. ^ a b c Müller-Wiener (1977), p. 182
  5. ^ Antechoir is the part of the church in front of the Choir, often reserved for the clergy.
  6. ^ a b Mathews (1976), p. 242
  7. ^ Capitals of similar shape are also used in the church of Hagios Andreas en te Krisei, another sixth century foundation in Constantinople. Van Millingen (1912), p. 115

Bibliography

  • Van Millingen, Alexander (1912). Byzantine Churches of Constantinople. London: MacMillan & Co. 
  • Mathews, Thomas F. (1976). The Byzantine Churches of Istanbul: A Photographic Survey. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press. ISBN 0-271-01210-2. 
  • Mango, Cyril A., "The church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus at Constantinople and the alleged tradition of octagonal palatine churches", Jahrbuch der österreichischen Byzantinistik (Vienna), ISBN B0007C8NDW 
  • Müller-Wiener, Wolfgang (1977) (in German). Bildlexikon Zur Topographie Istanbuls: Byzantion, Konstantinupolis, Istanbul bis zum Beginn d. 17 Jh. Tübingen: Wasmuth. ISBN 9783803010223. 
  • Krautheimer, Richard (1986) (in Italian). Architettura paleocristiana e bizantina. Turin: Einaudi. ISBN 88-06-59261-0. 
  • Freely, John (2000). Blue Guide Istanbul. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0393320146. 

External links

Media related to Sergius and Bacchus Church at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 41°00′10″N 28°58′19″E / 41.00278°N 28.97194°E / 41.00278; 28.97194


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hagia Sophia (disambiguation) — Hagia Sophia means either Holy Wisdom or Saint Sophia (Ἁγία Σοφία or Αγία Σοφία in Greek, Sancta Sophia in Latin, Ayasofya in Turkish). It is a reference to the attribute of The Holy Wisdom of Jesus Christ , especially in Eastern Orthodox… …   Wikipedia

  • Hagia Sophia — For other uses, see Hagia Sophia (disambiguation). Aghia Sophia redirects here. For the steamship, see SS Aghia Sophia. Hagia Sophia Ayasofya (Turkish) Ἁγία Σοφία (Greek) Sancta Sophia (Latin) …   Wikipedia

  • Hagia Sophia Church, Nesebar — Saint Sofia Church/The Old Bishopric Църква Света София/Старата митрополия (Bulgarian) Basic information Location …   Wikipedia

  • Little Hours — The Little Hours are the fixed daytime hours of prayer in the Divine Office of Christians, in both Western Christianity and the Eastern Orthodox Church. These Hours are called little due to their shorter and simpler structure compared to the… …   Wikipedia

  • Dome — For other uses, see Dome (disambiguation). Domal redirects here. For domal consonants , see Retroflex consonant. Dome of St. Peter s Basilica in Rome crowned by a cupola. Designed primarily by Michelangelo, the dome was not completed until 1590 A …   Wikipedia

  • Byzantine architecture — The Pammakaristos Church in Constantinople. Byzantine architecture is the architecture of the Byzantine Empire. The empire gradually emerged as a distinct artistic and cultural entity from what is today referred to as the Roman Empire after AD… …   Wikipedia

  • Gül Mosque — Gül Câmîi The Mosque viewed from south, with the minaret in background, as of 2007 Basic information Location Istanbul, Turkey Geographic coordinates …   Wikipedia

  • Zeyrek Mosque — Molla Zeyrek Cami The Mosque viewed from north east. From left to right, one can see the apses of the Church of Christ Pantokrator, the Imperial Chapel and the Church of the Theotokos Eleousa. Basic information Location …   Wikipedia

  • Architecture of Istanbul — The Architecture of Istanbul describes a large mixture of structures which reflect the many influences that have made an indelible mark in all districts of the city. The city is somewhat surrounded by the Walls of Constantinople, originally… …   Wikipedia

  • Kalenderhane Mosque — The Mosque viewed from south in 2007 Basic information Location Istanbul, Turkey Geographic coordinates …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.