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Hagia Sophia : Meaning 'Great Wisdom'
One of the Eight Wonders of the World, Hagia Sophia is a wonderful example of Byzantine art and architecture.
According to Russian legend, in the year 987 Prince Vladimir the Red Sun sent envoys to study the religions of the various neighboring nations. Some ambassadors went to Constantinople. The Byzantine Church set into motion a full festival ritual. The envoys were so impressed that they reported to Prince Vladimir that they've seen not just a breathtaking temple, but heaven. "We no longer knew whether we were in heaven or on earth." The ambassadors were so affected by the heavenly beauty of the Hagia Sophia, that they further said, "...nor such beauty, and we know not how to tell of it"
They say that this is what determined the choice of Vladimir to be baptized... and his decision to baptize all of Kievan Rus.
It is one of the rarest structures to have survived this far. Built on an area which was previously a temple of pagans, it became a Byzantine Church, turned into a mosque, and now a popular musem.
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