The interior of the magnificent Hagia Sophia, or “Holy Wisdom,” in Istanbul. Originally built as a cathedral in the days of the Byzantine Empire, it was later converted to a mosque with the arrival of the Ottoman Empire, finally to become a museum after the foundation of the modern nation of Turkey. Inside, remnants of all three eras are visible: Byzantine mosaics of Christian saints, huge medallions with Arabic calligraphy naming prophets of Islam, and an open floor crowded with European tourists of every creed or none at all.
This view shows the main floor as seen from a railing in the upper gallery. At the opposite side of the building, the lower and upper galleries can be seen, below a wall of windows where Byzantine mosaics are still being uncovered and restored.