Everyone who visits Constantinople goes to see this great mosque. It is a wonderful example of Byzantine (b -zn´tn) architecture, although its appearance has been greatly changed by supporting walls, and minarets which have been added. St. Sophia, at first a Christian church, was begun in 532 A. D. and was dedicated in 538. Seven years were spent in gathering together the materials for the building. Columns and carvings from pagan shrines in Greece, Syria and Asia Minor were brought to make this the most beautiful church known. The outside does not even suggest the beauty and charm of the interior, which is lavishly decorated with costly marbles, alabaster and porphyry (pôr´f-r). Its walls were inlaid with stones which gleamed like jewels. In 1453, after a long siege, the Turks took Constantinople. Thousands of Christians took refuge in St. Sophia, expecting a miracle to save them. No miracle occurred. The Turks turned the church into a Mohammedan mosque, built the four minarets and destroyed or covered up the symbols of the Christian religion. Every Friday (for Friday is the Mohammedan Sabbath) a priest reads the Koran is St. Sophia, holding a drawn sword in his hand to show that this church was taken from the Christians by force. The Turkish rule has been cruel and destructive. Constantinople, once the center of the government and learning of the world, became one of the most backward of cities. The Turks were allowed to remain in control because no modern nation was ever willing to allow any other to have it. With the defeat of the Central Powers in the World War, these conditions are changed and Constantinople will probably be internationalized. What is the meaning of internationalized? Keystone ID: 10977 Note: All titles, descriptions, and location coordinates are from the original Keystone Slide documentation as supplied by the Keystone View Company. No text has been edited or changed.