Turkey. Temples – the pride of Turkey
On the issue of faith and tolerance. Very relevant – in the light of recent shelling and the complete destruction of the statues of the Buddha. “I don’t know a traveler,” wrote IA Bunin, “who did not repent of the Turks because they exposed the temple, deprived it of sculptures, paintings, mosaics …”. And we, who survived the most cruel and destructive 20th century, when thousands of temples were blown up, should thank the Turks for not blowing up, not tearing, not burning. In 1935, when by the order of Turkish President Kemal Ataturk, Hagia Sophia was turned into a museum, the restorers revealed part of the mosaic. Above the entrance is a well-preserved mosaic with three figures – Mary with the baby, to her right is Constantine the Great with the model of Constantinople, to the left – Justinian with the model of Hagia Sophia.
In Turkey, they did not demolish temples. They were rebuilt, minarets were added to them. And no one ever crossed out the story. On the contrary, history was proud and proud to this day. Istanbul guides (excellent professionals, by the way) talk with enthusiasm about how in 330 the emperor Constantine made the Greek city of Bisantium, founded a thousand years before, the capital of the Roman Empire and called New Rome, and then Constantinople. Rome fell under the blows of the barbarians, but for another ten centuries Constantinople remained the center of the Byzantine Empire, until the empire fell to the size of a city. In 1204, the Crusaders captured Constantinople, in 1453 – the Turks, the last emperor of Byzantium was killed, fighting on the walls of the city. When Mehmet II the Conqueror entered Hagia Sophia, one of the Byzantine theologians cried from the altar: “There is no deity except Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah!” Constantinople, renamed Istanbul (Istanbul), became the capital of the Ottoman Empire. The coat of arms of Constantinople – the crescent moved to the banners of the Turks and the roofs of mosques. The population of the city grew rapidly, approaching a million, when in London there were not even two hundred thousand. Mosques, palaces, madrasas, bathhouses, bazaars, fountains were built … Naturally, the city did not escape earthquakes, wars, epidemics, fires, everything that no major city in the world could avoid. After World War I, the capital was moved to Ankara. But Istanbul remained Istanbul. No one knows where it begins, and where it ends. They say that there are about thirty cities and towns in Big Istanbul, the population is six, and maybe eight million. Istanbul lies on fourteen hills.
“… The hippodrome could accommodate a hundred thousand people,” say the guides. There, on the side of Saint Sophia, was the imperial tribune and lodges for dignitaries and senators. There were many wonderful sculptures here: the colossal Hercules of Lysippos, Adam and Eve, the dying bull, statues of emperors … And now, please, to St. Sophia. The temple was erected in honor of the victory of Belisarius, who destroyed forty thousand residents of the city who rebelled against Emperor Justinian. The altar was made of pure gold, painted with enamel and decorated with precious stones. In the middle of the central nave was an ivory, silver and colored marble ambon. The dome over the ambo was also of gold. Thousands of silver chandeliers, candelabra in the shape of trees, lamps in the form of birds, fish, and ships lit up the cathedral. Legend has it that the plan of the cathedral was presented to the emperor in a dream by an angel. From the floor to the top of the dome 65 meters. The diameter of the dome at the base – 30 meters. The dome is separated from the side pillars of green marble, which were brought from the temple of Diana in Ephesus. Columns of porphyry with capitals of white marble, located two between the pillars – from the temple of the Sun in Heliopolis. In total, Hagia Sophia has 107 columns collected from all over the empire. Light green marble was delivered from Karystos, white-red from Yasos, pink streaked from Phrygia … On December 27, 537, Hagia Sophia was solemnly consecrated. “Glory to the Almighty, who found me worthy to perform such a great work!” Justinian exclaimed, entering the temple, “O Solomon, I have defeated you!” Sofia surpassed Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem, for a long time it was considered the largest and richest cathedral in the Christian world.
Our whole history is connected with this land. The Princess of the Christian Land, Princess Olga, used to come here with the embassy, a blue-eyed beauty who had “switched over” and outwitted the Byzantine Emperor Constantine. Somewhere here, the Russians went into battle under the leadership of the fierce Svyatoslav, who “searched all his life for a foreign land and took care of it, and left his own.” Ten great messengers of Vladimir the Great arrived here when choosing faith for Russia and, returning to their own land, reported that they were in Greek land “God is with people and their service is better than in all other countries. It is impossible to forget the beauty of that one, for every person if he tastes sweet, he will not take bitter sweat later: and we can no longer be here in paganism. “