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This forum was created on 21 July 2007 05:38:23 GMT

Flame relay in Turkey begins at St. Sophia Museum

 
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weichenxi
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 22:38:11 UTC    Post subject: Flame relay in Turkey begins at St. Sophia Museum Reply with quote

Flame relay in Turkey begins at St. Sophia Museum

3 April 2008 17:12:46 | Source:Xinhua

St. Sophia Museum, one of the most magnificent buildings in the world, will be the starting point of the second leg of the Olympic Torch Relay, according to Xinhua.

Located opposite Istanbul's historic Blue Mosque, the museum, also known as Hagia Sophia, is the world's only surviving fourth century building. Its legacy is distinctive. Built in 330 A.D. by Constantine the Great, the expensive, lavish building was, at the time, the largest cathedral in the world. It was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman reign by famous Islamic architect Mimar Sinan, gaining Ottoman features that restored some of the building's glory, lost during the Crusades. In 1932, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey, transformed the mosque into a museum, allowing the public to view, for the first time in centuries, the building's brilliant Byzantine features and art.

A stunning feature of the museum's interior is a large dome. With a diameter of 32 meters, the dome is about 20 stories tall but not supported by any pillars. A portrait of Jesus Christ still visible on the ancient walls and columns finely sculpted with Islamic art speak of the historical conflict between Christianity and Islam and add to the museum's mystique.
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