Structurally an architectural wonder and aesthetically an incredible monument for both the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. Hagia Sophia is a former Greek Orthodox cathedral that later became an Ottoman imperial mosque, and is now a museum in the Turkish Republic.
Built in 537 as a cathedral in Constantinople with two floors centered on a nave that holds the great domed ceiling measuring 180 feet above the floor, along with smaller domes that extend upward. An engineering marvel for its time of great architectural beauty.
During the Byzantine period the apse was decorated with mosaics of a representation of the Virgin Mary with a young Jesus Christ on her lap. Most mosaics are made of pieces of stone or glass of different colors known tesserae.