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#2767_2013-09-16 to 20_Istanbul, Aya Sofya, Jesus mosaic.jpg
Byzantium. Constantinople. Istanbul. Three names for the same place during very different times. A center of Christianity to rival Rome. The nucleous of the Ottoman Empire. A secular, democratic, Turkish republic founded by Ataturk. Under Ottoman rule, the church of Haghia Sofia was converted to a mosque. Islam prohibits the use of human imagery in moques, so the mosaics, whose pure gold tiles glittered in the light of the church's many windowd, were covered - thankfully, with frescoes, which preserved them. Here, a mosaic of Christ from the 2nd floor gallery.