Hagia Sofia, Istanbul

Hagia Sophia started off as an important Christian church before becoming a mosque and now is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Museum). It was build in AD 537, during the reign of Justinian, seen above in the painting on the ceiling of the dome in the building. It is one of the most visited sites in Istanbul. During its time, it was the world’s largest building and an engineering marvel of its time. It is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is said to have “changed the history of architecture. In 1453, Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Empire … Continue reading Hagia Sofia, Istanbul

Constantinople

The Byzantium Empire was founded by Constantine the Great in 324 who renamed the city to Constantinople. The city was officially proclaimed the capital of the Roman empire (Byzantine) in 330. Constantine converted to Christianity in 312 and then transformed the Roman empire into Christianity. In 381, during the reign of Theodosius I, the official state religion of the Roman Empire became Christianity, turning Constantinople into a thriving religious centre. The Byzantine style was quite distinctive with religious icons being quite popular along with a flat perspective and use of gold as a form of style. The split in the … Continue reading Constantinople

Istanbul: A brief History (The Early Years)

Istanbul has a rich history with multiple dynasties and kingdoms taking charge at some point. The city, as such, has had human settlements for over three thousand years. The earliest known name of Istanbul is Lygos, founded by Thracian tribes. It was first colonised by the Greeks in the 7th Century BCE and then by the Romans around 200 ACE. We then had the Byzantine empire and the Ottoman empire take over over time. The ‘city’ of Byzantium was then located at the same place as Lygos. On the European side there were two settlements: Lygos and Semistra .On the … Continue reading Istanbul: A brief History (The Early Years)

Erechtheion, Acropolis, Athens

The Erechtheion or Erechtheum is an ancient Greek temple on the Acropolis of Athens which was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon. The temple was built between 421 and 406 BC. Its architect may have been Mnesicles, and it derived its name from a shrine dedicated to the legendary Greek hero Erichthonius. Some have suggested that it may have been built in honor of the legendary king Erechtheus, who is said to have been buried nearby. Erechtheus was mentioned in Homer’s Iliad as a great king and ruler of Athens during the Archaic Period. The classical building has suffered its … Continue reading Erechtheion, Acropolis, Athens

Theatre of Dionysus

The theatre of Dionysos Eleuthereus was built in the 6th century BCE and is seen on the hill of the Acropolis in Athens. Modified and expanded over the centuries, it is the oldest Greek theatre and is the site where some of the most famous Greek plays from antiquity were first performed. In the 4th century BCE, the theatre reached its full extent, holding upto 17,000 people. It continued to flourish in the Roman era but fell into decline in the Byzantine era and thereafter. It was excavated and then resorted to its current condition in the 19th century. The … Continue reading Theatre of Dionysus

The Louvre Museum, Paris

Louvre or French Musée du Louvre is the world’s most-visited art museum, with a collection that spans work from ancient civilizations to the mid-19th century. Famous displayed works include the Mona Lisa, Liberty Leading the People, Alexander in Babylon, Family Portrait among many others. The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace, originally built as the Louvre castle in the late 12th to 13th century under Philip II. In 1546 Francis I converted it into the primary residence of the French Kings. During the French Revolution, the National Assembly decreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum to … Continue reading The Louvre Museum, Paris