The Splendor of Hagia Sophia with Dr. Thomas F Madden - Context Travel

The Splendor of Hagia Sophia with Dr. Thomas F Madden


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Magnificent Hagia Sophia has burst into the news as President Erdogan of Turkey has ordered its transformation into a mosque. This conversation will explore the fifteen-century history of this structure of guide participants through its treasures.

The extraordinary building in modern Istanbul was constructed fifteen centuries ago as the greatest church, indeed, the greatest building in the Western world. For nine centuries it was a Christian cathedral, for five centuries a Muslim mosque, and for nearly one century a museum open to all. Now its future is threatened by religious strife and Turkish politics.

This Conversation will guide participants through the long history of this remarkable monument, from its construction by Emperor Justinian to its ransacking by Crusaders to its capture by Sultan Mehmed II to its meticulous restoration in the modern world. Participants will also have the opportunity to experience the beauty of Hagia Sophia's dome, arches, and exquisite mosaics with explanations from a scholar, Dr. Thomas F. Madden, who has studied and written on the city and its monuments for more than three decades.

Thomas F Madden is a Professor of History and Director of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Saint Louis University. As the author of the book Istanbul: City of Majesty at the Crossroads of the World and historical consultant, he has appeared in such venues as The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, CNN, and The History Channel. He is a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Medieval Academy of America, and he is a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.