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Minecraft Maps / 3D Art

Hagia Sophia Cathedral

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marvelfannumber2 avatar marvelfannumber2
Level 39 : Artisan Cake
The Hagia Sophia, in modern day Istanbul was built in 537 A.D as the chief Imperial Cathedral of Constantinople, capital of the (Eastern) Roman Empire. It replaced the earlier cathedral of the city, built by Emperor Theodosius II, after it burned down during the Nika Riots of 532. The entire edifice was built in an astounding 4 years. The structure was not without its problems though, as the main dome collapsed in 558 and had to be replaced/reinforced. The cathedral went through several renovations over the centuries in response to earthquake and decay, the greatest of these, under Emperor Basil II. This renovation rebuild the western half dome, strengthened the great arches my making the windows smaller. A massive number of new mosaic images were also added during this renovation, as well as a commerative inscription.

The structure has stood for nearly two millenia as a Greek Orthodox Imperial Cathedral, a Catholic Cathedral, an Imperial Mosque and today, a secular museum. For just under 1000 years it was the largest church in the world and the pinnacle of Roman engineering/architecture.

This build also includes the other structures of the Patriarchal complex which have since been destroyed by time and decay. Including the great Augustaion square which was initially built as a forum by Septimius Severus in the 3rd Century, before being enlarged by Constantine in the 4th Century. It was destroyed during the Nika riots of 532, and along with the Hagia Sophia was rebuilt.

Its crowning monument was a huge honorific column to its builder, the Emperor Justinian. Which remained intact, with its statue until 1453, and without its statue until the early 1500's.

This build contains the Hagia Sophia and it's neighbouring Patriarchal structures as they may have looked around 1200 A.D, after the restorations of Emperor Basil II, but before the Sack of Constantinople in 1204

This is my second attempt at the Hagia Sophia. I was unhappy with how the last attempt turned out and decided to redo it with both my current building techniques and more accuracy in terms of architecture and scale.

Structures included are:

-Hagia Sophia (Church of Holy Wisdom)
-Hagia Sophia Atrium and fountain
-Chapel of the Holy well
-Patriarchal Palace
-Anabasion of the Chalkê
-Augustaion square
-Column of Justinian

I've also gone to great lengths to include every known mosaic and inscription recorded in the Hagia Sophia. Sources for these are provided below.

This was built using Minecraft Java, 1.10.2. I used only MCEdit to help speed up the building process. The scale used is 1:1, 1 block = 1 meter


-"Mosaics of Hagia Sophia, Istanbul: The Fossati Restoration and the Work of the Byzantine Institute",
Natalia B. Teteriatnikov, 1998
-"The Mosaics of St. Sophia at Istanbul", Cyril Mango, 1972
-"The Art of the Byzantine Empire", Cyril Mango. 1986
-"The Patriarchal Palace at Constantinople in the seventh century:", Ken Dark/Jan Kostenec, 2014
-"Russian Pilgrims in Constantinople, George Majeska, 2002
-"Byzantine Court Culture from 829 to 1204. 1997
-"The Book of Ceremonies", 10th Century, English translation by Ann Moffatt and Maxeme Tall, 2012
-Molochbaal for some ideas in regards to the decoration of Metatorion and Patriarchate.
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02/27/2021 7:39 pm
Level 29 : Expert Architect
Joiner avatar
The building is no longer a museum, it turned again as a mosque now.
02/28/2021 9:28 am
Level 39 : Artisan Cake
marvelfannumber2 avatar
Just leave it be, to remind me of better times.
02/26/2021 3:00 pm
Level 30 : Artisan Miner
lunke67 avatar
12/12/2020 2:25 am
Level 7 : Apprentice Crafter
RandyDandy63 avatar
Amazing build! I can see definite influence from the loos etchings. I have to ask though,what historical documents did you use for the Chapel of the Holy well and the Metatorion? I've been able to find some resources from Bob Atchison regarding the holy well and some etchings of it from Van Nice, but getting an actual sense of what the interior looked like in Byzantine times has been hard, especially with regard to the design and placement of the well/fountain, and I have found almost no resources describing the Metatorion, only that it was a dining room for the emperor and was once attached to the south aisle. Were you able to find any documents that describe the placement and design of these structures? Thanks!
12/12/2020 6:24 am
Level 39 : Artisan Cake
marvelfannumber2 avatar

Although this build is actually extremely outdated now, I've made a brand new, much better version now that I haven't quite posted yet.

As for the Holy Well and Metatorion: The Chapel of the Holy Well still (sort of) exists, it even used to have mosaics until the 19th Century, so its dimensions can't have been that different from the current structure, which means it must have been quite small. Due to the small size of it, there's only so much you can do for a well within Minecraft.

The Metatorion is almost complete conjecture. Although I there are some details we do know, some of which I have now included in the new version. We know it had a dining room, a circular chapel (which may have been a kind of southern parallel to the Skeuopylakion), that it connected to the south-eastern stairwell and of course, that it had a bedchamber for the Emperor.

There are no remains for the design or placement of these elements though, only that they existed.
03/04/2021 12:52 pm
Level 1 : New Miner
Yimir_ avatar
Hi, do you have any kind of timeframe for posting your updated version?
03/04/2021 2:11 pm
Level 39 : Artisan Cake
marvelfannumber2 avatar
It's done when it's done.
02/09/2020 6:30 am
Level 1 : New Miner
nirutham avatar
splendid ! great job
12/08/2019 10:34 am
Level 1 : New Miner
DgSS avatar
this is by far one of the most coloful buildings ive ever seen, Beautiful work!
12/08/2019 7:11 pm
Level 39 : Artisan Cake
marvelfannumber2 avatar
Thank you, I am glad I was able to capture that look.

The Hagia Sophia would have historically been about this bright and colorful, the reason it appears darker in real life now is due to centuries of dust. It also doesn't help that the windows were made smaller under the Ottomans, which gives the interior far less light.
06/19/2019 3:59 am
Level 33 : Artisan Architect
BurnblazeX avatar
I ve been there and it looks pretty nice
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