At one point, Rome was the world's most powerful empire, but alas, it came to an end. However, the culture of art, literature, and architecture lived on, as it was adopted by the Byzantine empire. The Byzantine empire, once known as the Eastern Roman Empire, was heavily influenced by the Roman culture. Architecture such as the arch, the forum, and columns were practiced in Byzantine's buildings and churches. One of Rome's pastimes, chariot racing, was also implemented by the Byzantine. The empire's capital, Constantinople, was frequently referred to as "The New Rome," because of the powerful government and religious life inside the city. With a powerful capital, there was a timeline of successful rulers. One of them, named Justinian, made some of the Byzantine empire's greatest contributions. Under Justinian's rule, the Byzantine restored Roman glory by rebuilding the church of Hagia Sophia, a religious landmark.
Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, and home to the nation's culture, economy, and history. In the heart of Istanbul is the church of Hagia Sophia, a temple that has served many purposes. Its name means "Holy Wisdom", which was a perfect name for the building as it was originally built as a church. However, two previous churches were built on the grounds of the Hagia Sophia before the current structure was constructed in 532 AD. The cathedral has also survived the rule of two empires throughout the years, and still stands today as a symbol of pride for the Turkish city of Istanbul.
The first building to be erected on the premises was once known as the "Great Church". The basilica opened in February of 360 AD and practiced Eastern Orthodox Christianity; it served as the primary place of worship in Constantinople. Built in the style of Latin architecture, the church originally featured an atrium, which was later replaced with a wooden roof. During its time of existence, this first church was considered the greatest monument in the world.