Didem Doğan

St Sophia by night: European night of the Museums

Your mood is different during the night time, right? So is the city’s mood, its streets’, monuments’, peoples’… A description of St Sophia in 6th century written by Paulos Silentarios* in 563: “Everything glitters- everywhere you cast your eyes, you behold a masterwork. Words are not enough to sing proper praise to this evening awakening. It seems as if a nocturnal sun is illuminating the majestic church.” and it goes on… After 16 centuries, on the night of the Museums 18th of May 2017, we may not have oil lamps lightening this majestic museum but we still have the same sensations. It’s as if she’s telling us “I’m standing here for 1600 years and I do not belong to anyone.” St Sophia is a perfect example of the continuation of the city’s history: the domes of the city of Constantin - from Chora, St Irene, St Triana, St Sophia to the domes of Istanbul’s mosques; from Christ’s mosaic depictions to citations in the Qur'an as the one written inside its main dome (An-Nur 24: 35) “Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.” For ones who are aiming to see ‘unity’ rather than a ‘rupture’, St Sophia, with her four guardian angels at each corner will take you under her arms just as she took us tonight. *Stéphane Yerasimos, Constantinople