Hagia Sophia, for almost 1,000 years was the largest Greek Orthodox Christian church in the world. Unfortunately nothing remains of the original Hagia Sophia, which was built in the fourth century by Constantine the Great. Constantine was the first Christian emperor and the founder of the city of Constantinople, which he called “the New Rome.” Hagia Sophia was one of several great churches he built in important cities throughout his empire. Following the destruction of Constantine’s church, a second was built by his son Constantius and the emperor Theodosius the Great. This second church was burned down during the Nika riots of 532, though fragments of it have been excavated and can be seen today.
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