Aya Sofya


After the 6th Century, for almost a thousand years, the Aya Sofya was the largest enclosed space in the world, a symbol of the strength and wealth of the Byzantine Empire.

Next door, is the Topkapi Palace, built by the Ottomans who conquered the Byzantines in the 15th Century. Talk about unseemly excess! The Treasuries and opulence in the palace were too much for me to capture on paper. At the Palace, I was fascinated by its unseemly excessiveness, including the harems, scene of the debauched revelries of Ibrahim the Mad. When he emerged from 22 years in the Cage, his reign as sultan culminated in a fit of sexual jealousy. He ordered the death of 280 concubines in his harem. Only one lived to tell the tale, when the sack in which she was bound was picked up by a passing French ship and she was taken to Paris.

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