April 4th, 2010


Happy Easter!

Here's a photo to celebrate Easter. I took it on Tuesday in the Hagia Sophia Museum in Istanbul, Turkey.

The gilt mosaic was probably created in about 1260 AD and is located in the imperial enclosure in the upper gallery. This detail shows Christ Pantocrator. The full mosaic is badly damaged and the lower portion is missing. It depicts the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist asking Christ to intercede for humanity on Judgement Day. You can see Him raising His fingers in blessing.

It may be the finest of the many striking mosaics in the former basilica, which was inaugurated by Emperor Justinian in 537 AD. Over the centuries, the building has suffered fires, earthquakes, deliberate damage, reuse, and neglect, yet the huge soaring dome still conveys the heavenly grandeur that the original architects intended.

Expect more photos from the trip as I get the chance to post them.

— Sue Burke