By Lindsay Kuhlmann
Istanbul is clearly a city that has transformed
over time. The transformation
easily be seen in the architecture of its ancient buildings. Unlike a
formed global city, where all buildings are new skyscrapers, the
buildings in Istanbul
showed hints of its vernacular past.
Caglar Keyder talked about in “The Housing
Market from Informal to Global” affected the architecture
much like the Ottoman
Empire. While the new urban dwellers built up the periphery
and changed the face of the city, the new Muslim rule plastered the
St. Sophia to change its Christian face.
Sophia visually taught me the most
about Istanbul’s history.
outside one could see how it had been transformed into a mosque and
inside one could see the Christian church. In his article Keyder
described the development of the city of Istanbul.
Originally the occupants of Istanbul
were Christian but were pushed out with the coming of the Ottoman
Empire and the Muslim religion. This explains the existence
Sophia in the first place and also its transformation.
Sophia was the
biggest domed building in all of Europe for
The outside is grand but the inside is breathtaking. However most of
interesting mosaics have been uncovered since the mosque/church was
made into a
museum. Under layers of plaster, gold, blue, and white tiles were found
depicting biblical scenes. The four major pillars holding up the dome
enormous angels with equally impressive wings depicted on them. It was
me that these angels were put there to make it look as though they were
up the dome. Some of the mosaics have yet to be recovered from the
which reminds visitors that this was influenced by someone else. Along
Christian depictions in the church there are Muslim signs. These signs
equally impressive and ancient.
St. Sophia was able to see a great example of how urban dwellers within
have affected its architecture. With each wave of immigrants to the
face of the city changes yet a peace of the past always remains.