Architecture can tell you so much about a culture! I find myself amused at being in this mega Dutch complex, only an airport hotel, but more like a tiny city. Ibis houses two restaurants, a bar, cafe, and shops. The desk from which I'm sitting and looking out the window at rabbits on the manicured lawn, is modular, just like the bed, closest, and bathroom--all snapped into place. This is transitory housing for the roving hoards. The check-in clerk is more like an activity adviser consulting travelers about their "consumer" interests before "placing" them into a room for the night! In July 2013, we have constructed TEMPORARY architectural structures!
And the Aya Sofya? It endures! Can you believe that this magnificent structure was completed in 537 and has endured in various forms until now, more than 14 centuries later! How? The sublime marriage of SPIRIT and ART!
When I studied about the Aya Sofya as a primary school student in the 1960's, we learned the Greek name of the church, "Haghia Sofia," and that it meant "Church of Divine Wisdom" in English. And the DIVINITY that has been worshiped here has changed over the centuries.
Aya Sofya was built as a Christian church in the 6th century and according to my trusty Lonely Planet travel guide, it was the "greatest church in Christendom" until the middle of the 15th century.
|ALWAYS BEING RENOVATED. Ancient structures require constant upkeep. TIME is present in the Aya Sofya. And I felt how EPHEMERAL our human life is. (photo by Tony Martin)|
|MOSAICS, ARCHES, AND ANGELS|
|UNCOVERED CHRISTIAN MURALS. During the time that Aya Sofya was a mosque, the Christian imagery was plastered over. Restorations have uncovered some of them.|
|FAUX BUILDING STONES. Notice the regularity of the patterning on the slabs of "stones" in this photo? They are paintings.|
|REPAIR TO FAUX BUILDING STONE.|
|HALLELUJAH FOR PATTERNED STONE!|
|AWESOMENESS! There I am, Hallelujah Truth, dwarfed by the immensity of the ARCHITECTURE! To my left is a faux arch and more faux stone. Who would notice it in this MARVELOUS structure?|