The only thing I knew, for sure, about going to Turkey was that I wanted to see the Hagia Sophia on my first day in Istanbul. Designed by two Greeks, the Hagia Sophia (Greek for “Holy Wisdom”) was completed in the year 537 A.D. It was first a church, then a mosque, and now a museum. It is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture, a fact that stuck in my head when I first heard about it in college during one of my Art History classes. I still remember the professor’s enthusiasm, as well as her awe, while she was describing the Hagia Sophia to the freshman 100 level class. Her enthusiasm stuck with me because she seemed almost at a loss for words when describing its beauty and grandeur.
While walking toward the museum, I saw many guides, all of them men with books in their hands. I noticed they were trying to sell their books, and I was hoping none of them would approach me. Then, a young voice yelled to me, “Hi, do you want a Turkish boyfriend?!” Caught off guard, I managed to smile at the young boy while I proceeded toward the entrance.
When I entered the building, like the college professor, I had no words to describe the beauty, awe, and splendor of the Hagia Sophia. I actually had tears in my eyes! It was breathtakingly beautiful. Now, I completely understood why the professor was almost speechless. Although pictures do not do justice, here she is…
After spending several hours there and taking numerous photos with my new camera, I felt like I didn’t want nor need to see anything else. I felt fulfilled on my first day in Turkey. Although the Blue Mosque was immediately ahead of me upon exiting the Hagia Sophia, I had no desire to go further with my day.