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Inside The Aya Sofya 2

A ramp leads from the ground floor to the galleries upstairs.In the South Gallery stands a marble door called The Gates Of Heaven and Hell. It predates the Ottoman Conquest.

Enrico Dandolo (1107? – 21 June 1205) — was the 41st Doge of Venice from 1195 until his death. Remembered for his blindness, piety, longevity, and shrewdness, and is infamous for his role in the Fourth Crusade which he, at age ninety and totally blind, lead personally to Constantinople, where he cut the chains across the Golden Horn and stormed the city, sacking Constantinople. The Four Bronze Horses, e.g. atop the facade of St Mark's Basilica in Venice got there at this time from the Hippodrome of Constantinople He died in Constantinople and is believed to be buried in the Aya Sofya. In the 19th century an Italian restoration team placed a cenotaph marker near the probable location, which is still visible today. The real tomb was destroyed by the Turks after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 and subsequent conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque.

View of the Nave from the West Gallery.The main dome reaches a height of 54 m (184 ft)

The South Gallery

Detail of the Deesis Mosaic in the Sourh Gallery

The figure of Christ in the same mosaic

At the end of the South gallery is rthe splendid mosaic depicting the figure of Christ flanked by Emperor Constantine IX and his wife The Empress Zoe

This is the Empress of IRENE [], born Piroska, the daughter of the Hungarian King Ladislaus I, and wife of Emporor John II Comnenus.
Irene favoured the restoration of the use of icons, which had been prohibited in 730. The Seventh Ecumenical Council, which met at Nicaea in 787 finally restored the cult of images. For her role in this, she has become a saint of the Greek orthodox Church.

The entire mosaic

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