Greetings from Istanbul
My best friend from high school Kinnari Shah and I have made it our thing to travel together every few years, and this trip we settled on Istanbul, in part because neither of us had ever been, and in part because our AP Art History teacher, Madame Gehrels, taught us about the beautiful architecture there, especially the Hagia Sofia. I still remember the sense of wonder she instilled in us as students about the structure and its design, its history, its influence. The lesson was strong enough to stay with us for nearly four decades, leading us finally to commit to seeing it for ourselves.
That building once was a cathedral but became a mosque after the conquest of the city by the Ottomans. In many ways it symbolizes this city well: layers upon layers of different civilizations, literally at the crossroads of two continents and two seas. The design was used for over 1,000 years after as the blueprint for mosques around the world. Here is a picture I captured from within that great edifice with an upward focus on its fabled dome.