Istanbul-Aya Sophia

The Aya Sophia was the first mosque I visited and in my mind the most beautiful. The design of this building allows it to have a large, open space in the center, since the columns that support it are hidden within the walls. This genius design allows you to take in this masterpiece without becoming overwhelmed by all the intricate details. The Aya Sophia used to be a church during Byzantine rule and a depiction of Christ and Mary still remains in the center room, near the ceiling, close to one of the elaborate Arabic inscriptions that was added during the Ottoman Empire rule.