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Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

Hagia Sophia was intially a Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal basilica and later became an imperial mosque. Now a museum in Istanbul, the words Hagia Sophia mean ‘Holy Wisdom’. The construction started way back in 537 AD and for nearly a thousand years, it stayed as the world’s largest cathedral. It is popular for its massive dome and is considered as a perfect example of Byzantine architecture. The ‘weeping column’ that stands in the northwest portion of the church is covered in bronze and the alleged blessing of St. Gregory has many rubbing the column to seek divine healing. It was Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of modern Turkey who secularised the former cathedral and mosque and converted it into a museum.