Monumental folly

A visitor standing under the spare Islamic beauty of Hagia Sophia’s central nave may spot a rare trinity. High on the apse is a jewel-like 9th century mosaic of the Virgin Mary and the Christ-child. Framing it are two of four recently uncovered mosaics of seraphims, angels originating in ancient Judaism. Below these are large wooden discs bearing elegant Quranic inscriptions, evidence of the last phase of the monument’s turbulent 1,660-year-old history. Hagia Sophia in Istanbul must be one of the few places on earth where depictions of the three great Abrahamic religions, now.....

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