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  1. Throughout Byzantine and Ottoman history, the Hagia Sophia has been the Imperial Church or Mosque. Emperors were crowned, victories were celebrated and Ottoman Sultans prayed in this remarkable building. For many centuries the Hagia Sophia was possibly the largest shrine in the world.
  2. Justinian I (left) presents the Church of the Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia) to the Virgin Mary and the child Jesus, while Constantine I (right) presents the city of Byzantium.
  3. Looking up as you depart, you'll see a final mosaic. To the left is Justinian I presenting a model of his new church, the Hagia Sophia, to Christ and the Virgin Mary. To the right is Constantine I presenting a model of his new city, Constantinople.
  4. Just as you're leaving, don't forget to turn around and look up.
  5. Thought to date from the Hellenistic or early Byzantine period.
  6. The Omphalion, marked by circular marble slabs, was where Byzantine emperors were crowned. It is also where they sat during church services.
  7. Believed to have healing powers. These days the idea is that you insert your thumb into a hole in the pillar and wind it around in a circle to have your wish granted.
  8. The pulpit from which the Imam preached, installed by Murat III (1574 - 95).
  9. Installed by the Ottoman Muslims, this shows the direction to Mecca.
  10. Located directly across from the Deesis Mosaic, this tomb contains Enrico Dandolo, the Doge of Venice responsible for sacking Constantinople in 1204. The Doge wanted to be buried here, so here he lies.
  11. Depicts the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist with Christ Pantocrator (the All Powerful).
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