Hagia Sofia, Aya Sofya, or Sancta Sophia (‘Divine Wisdom’) The mosque, originally basilica or church of the Divine Wisdom, in Istanbul. It was commissioned in the 6th cent. by the emperor Justinian after the second church on the site (founded in 452 by Theodosius II) had been razed to the ground in the Nika revolts of Jan. 532. In the late 16th cent. as part of a restoration process, minarets were added by the architect Sīhān (see SULAIMĀN THE MAGNIFICENT). The last extensive restoration was commissioned by Sultan Abdul Mecit in 1847, and the Aya Sofia continued to function as a mosque until 1932 when it was opened as a museum.
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