The Hagia Sofia in Istanbul is difficult to grasp, in its sprawling immensity, its architectural grandeur, its layered complexity. You think to yourself, as you look about, at its enormous dome, its towering columns, this place is more than 1400 years old – and where was Europe, back in the fifth century?
Like the great mosque-cathedrals that we saw in Spain, in Sevilla and Cordoba, the structure has metaphorphosed over the centuries – church becoming mosque and mosque becoming church, except here, in Istanbul, at the gateway between Europe and Asia, the trajectory is the opposite, with the mosque ascendant.
It’s simply impossible, to absorb it all or even a small part of it in one short visit, and just a few photographs. So here are glimpses, impressions, almost at random. But enough, I hope, to whet your appetite.
And finally, a more meditative moment….