Hagia Sophia and Pantheon Outside View

How Does the Hagia Sophia Relate to the Pantheon?

Hey there, fellow travelers! But if you have the plan to visit Turkey, then Hagia Sophia in Istanbul is a must-see. This is a historical site that stands as an outstanding example of architecture and culture. But did you know that it has some interesting connections with another well-known structure – the Pantheon in Rome? Let’s get into this history trip and see how these two buildings are connected.

A Tale of Two Cities

First things first, we need to set the stage. The Pantheon which is situated at the heart of Rome happens to be an ancient temple built around 126 AD by Emperor Hadrian. Its huge domed roof still remains as the biggest unreinforced concrete dome not only in Italy but also globally. This monument was first devoted to all the Roman gods thus bearing the name Pantheon which essentially means “all gods”.


Hagia Sophia Outside View

Hagia Sophia Outside View




Pantheon Outside View

Pantheon Outside View


Now let’s move forward to the year 537AD when Hagia Sophia was completed in Constantinople (Istanbul) by orders from Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. Unlike Pantheon, Hagia Sophia served as a Christian cathedral and was actually the largest cathedral on Earth for almost one thousand years. It derived its name Hagia Sophia from Greek meaning “Holy Wisdom”.

Architectural Miracles of Hagia Sophia and Pantheon

So, what’s the relationship between these two great buildings? It is all about the architecture. The Pantheon and Hagia Sophia both have fascinating domes that were unprecedented for their time.

 

Hagia Sophia vs Pantheon Domes

Hagia Sophia vs Pantheon Domes

The Pantheon: The dome of the Pantheon is a perfect hemisphere with its oculus or central opening at the top which allows natural light to pour in giving it a mysterious atmosphere. The engineering of this dome was revolutionary and went on to influence many later structures.

Hagia Sophia: In contrast, the dome of Hagia Sophia represents more of a segmental arch and it combined a traditional basilica with an enormous central dome. This design was so new that several significant edifices such as Blue Mosque in Istanbul were built from it.

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Hagia Sophia Outside View

Hagia Sophia Outside View

Culture and Religion

Both buildings underwent fascinating cultural and religious transformations. In 7th century AD, the Pantheon was converted into a Christian church hence ensuring its preservation throughout history till today. Its present name is Santa Maria ad Martyres and still works as place of worship now.

The Hagia Sophia has seen even more changes. It started as a Christian cathedral, then was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453, and finally became a museum in 1935. Recently, in 2020, Hagia Sophia was reconverted into a mosque. Despite these changes, it remains a symbol of the diverse cultural and religious history of Istanbul.

Pantheon Outside View

Pantheon Outside View

Tips for Visiting

Here are some tips if you want to see these architectural wonders.

Hagia SophiaStarting January 15, 2024, new access rules applied. For worship turkish citizens can enter lower section with out a fee. For foregin visitors can access to the upper gallery with buying enterance ticket, where you can explore Byzantine mosaics and Ottoman architecture. This ticket does not include access to the main worship area on the ground floor.

The best way to get in is to visit in the early hours or evening rather than during busy lunch hours. The inside is extensive with lots of mosaics and domes worth your attention. Spend a long time there as the dome above you can be revealing.

Pantheon:You don’t have to pay in order to enter, but it tends always to be crowded so try early hours in the morning or late afternoons. The most interesting thing? It is located right at the center of Rome, therefore, you can easily add it into a visitation list that includes other close-by features like Trevi Fountain or Piazza Navona.


Hagia Sophia Inside and Dome View

Hagia Sophia Inside and Dome View


Pantheon Inside and Dome View

Pantheon Inside and Dome View


Exploring the connections between the Hagia Sophia and the Pantheon adds another layer of depth to your travel experience. These structures are not just buildings; they’re stories carved in stone, embodying the spirit of their respective eras. So, next time you find yourself in Istanbul or Rome, take a moment to appreciate the grandeur and history of these incredible places. Bon voyage!

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