We had already visited the magnificent Blue Mosque (built 1606-1611) on our first evening in town...
...Now it was time to visit its rival, the Hagia Sophia (or Aya Sofya in Turkish), built a thousand years earlier during the reign of the emperor Justinian in 537 AD:
The Lonely Planet guide opines that the "wham-bam effect" of the Blue Mosque's exterior surpasses the Aya Sofya, but that the latter has the goods when it comes to interior design. This judgement is up for debate (I agreed; t. preferred the Blue Mosque's interior too), but even with the scaffolding, the soaring dome is a stunning achievement:
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