ART 120

Hagia Sophia: From the Emperor's Church to the Sultan's Mosque (6th-21st Century)

The church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople was not only a daring architectural achievement at the time of its completion in 537 but also a significant religious and political statement. After all it was re-erected immediately following the riots that almost cost the emperor Justinian his throne. As the primary church of Constantinople, it was the meeting ground of the emperor, the patriarch, and the populace, and a treasure trove of holy relics sought out by pilgrims who flocked to the Byzantine capital. After the Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople in 1453, Hagia Sophia was refurbished and rededicated as a mosque, and it functioned as such until it became a museum in 1935. This course explores ideas related to this single but fundamental monument of world heritage across multiple cultures and periods and from the perspective of multiple disciplines.