Byzantine-era Hagia Sophia 1:1 Reconstruction with historical resources (WIP)

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avatar RandyDandy63
Level 5 : Apprentice Crafter
4
NOTE: this map is incomplete. Once it is finished I'll post a new page that includes a full map download and the finished build.

This map is currently consuming every fiber of my being, as I've been spending almost every waking moment working on it for about a week or now so I thought I'd post my progress so far and see what people think and see if they have any recommendations.

The build I am currently working on is a 1:1 reconstruction of the Cathedral of the Hagia Sophia (Holy wisdom) in Constantinople, as it was in the Palaiologan-dynasty era of Byzantine History. I have completed just under half of it so far. My build is unique in that I have been using various historical resources and manuscripts I have at my disposal from my University's library and JSTOR to form this build in terms of an accurate, analytical, historical reconstruction of what the cathedral looked like in this particular era of Byzantine History, to the best of my ability with the resources available.

So as to avoid confusion, I will list each of my sources that I have used to accurately reconstruct each element of the Cathedral, and the corresponding element of the build that those sources correspond to.

Just for reference, in the resource list I''ll be using some abbreviations to show whether a particular element is complete (C), Partially Complete (PC) or hasn't been built yet (NB)

Mosaics of North and South Tympanum (C):
https://www.doaks.org/resources/publications/books/mosaics-of-hagia-sophia-istanbul-the-fossati

Golden throne and canopy of the nave, situated on top of the Omphalion (C):
https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/100144723
https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-throne-0f-the-byzantine-emperors-from-cassells-illustrated-universal-122199660.html

Marble decoration of the piers of the upper galleries now hidden behind calligraphy shields (C):
https://images.hollis.harvard.edu/permalink/f/pb318q/HVD_VIAolvwork480108

Mosaics of the currently inaccessible room above the southwest vestibule (NB):
https://images.hollis.harvard.edu/permalink/f/pb318q/HVD_VIAolvwork478337

Justinianic mosaics in the arch connecting the upper colonnade to the vaults of the north and south galleries (NB):
https://images.hollis.harvard.edu/permalink/f/pb318q/HVD_VIAolvwork476909

Of particular help to me in reconstructing the mosaics and the interior of the south and north gallery of the cathedral is the work of Bob Atchison, a historian of Byzantine and Russian architectural and iconographic history
-Vault mosaics of the north, south, and west galleries (PC):
https://www.pallasweb.com/deesis/drawings-hagia-sophia-loos-grelot.html (Loos drawings)

-Hanging green Lampadas of the gallery (C):
https://www.pallasweb.com/deesis/drawings-hagia-sophia-loos-grelot.html (Loos drawings)

-Imperial enclosure in front of the Deesis mosaic (C):
https://www.pallasweb.com/deesis/drawings-hagia-sophia-loos-grelot.html (Loos Drawings)

-Mosaics of the arch of the western conch (PC):
https://www.pallasweb.com/deesis/drawings-hagia-sophia-loos-grelot.html (Saltzenberg drawings)

I will update this list with further related resources as the build progresses.

P.S. sorry for how bad the screenshots look, doing lighting stuff is the most boring and unenjoyable part of doing builds for me, especially with a big build like this where I have to put down like 2000 torches to fully illuminate all the domes, so for right now I'm just going to use a night vision potion to take the screenshots, which unfortunately makes the build look alot more color saturated and doesn't give a true sense of the beauty of the Hagia Sophia. Final build will be illuminated naturally tho so stay tuned.
Progress55% complete
Tags

1
01/17/2021 9:19 pm
Level 1 : New Miner
ChronicTaxEvader
Are you still working on this project?
1
12/12/2020 2:02 amhistory
Level 5 : Apprentice Crafter
RandyDandy63
update: aisles, galleries, ambo, sanctuary, templon, solea, and entrance completed. All of the figurative interior mosaics that survive to this day save for the mosaic of Constantine and Justinian in the vestibule are complete. Inner narthex partially complete and empress lodge in beginning stages. Will keep you guys posted.
2
12/10/2020 8:02 am
Level 38 : Artisan Cake
marvelfannumber2
Wow, this is very good.

It's nice seeing someone else doing reconstructions with an actual bibliography .

How come there's no Pantokrator mosaic on the main dome by the way?
1
12/12/2020 1:04 am
Level 5 : Apprentice Crafter
RandyDandy63
Thanks! I love reconstructing things in Minecraft to their former glory. Some time ago I also did a build of The Constantinian Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and a model of the Church of the Holy Apostles based off the work of Dr. Nikolaos Karydis https://birkbeck.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=85530f3a-fad9-4b1c-b90b-a9e300c7f9a4 let me know if thats something that I should post

As for the Pantocrator mosaic, the cross is just a placeholder for now before I get around to actually making a mosaic of the Pantocrator there. However, a cross being there is actually based on historical evidence, specifically this 1680 etching of the interior of the Hagia Sophia, https://fineartamerica.com/featured/turkey-hagia-sophia-1680-granger.html which was made before the original mosaics were plastered over. So, in my view its most likely that the original Pantocrator mosaic was severely damaged or destroyed in the earthquake of October 1344, and replaced with a simple cross in the renovation by the architects Astras and Peralta. It is also possible that Guillaume Joseph Grelot (author of the etching) just didn't want to go through the trouble of including a depiction of the Pantocrator mosaic there, so he just drew a simple cross instead.

Either way, eventually I'm going to get around to putting a mosaic of the Pantocrator there.
2
12/12/2020 6:30 am
Level 38 : Artisan Cake
marvelfannumber2
Ah I see.

I knew about that weird cross in that one etching, it defies explanation. I can't see John V Palaiologos just neglecting to restore the Pantokrator when his renovation thoroughly restored the Seraphims and added new mosaics on the eastern arch.

I really like the updates you've made just now too, although if this is indeed the Palaiologan Hagia Sophia, I find it odd that the Imperial Doors are still there (they were melted down in 1204), and that the Sanctuary is still the original one (original was melted down in 1204, replaced with a new one for the Latin Rite, replaced again in 1261 with an Orthodox one, then destroyed in the 1344 earthquake and replaced with a final one in the 1350's. Shouldn't those parts be different by this point?
1
12/12/2020 2:04 pm
Level 5 : Apprentice Crafter
RandyDandy63
Good point. Like I said, the cross is just a placeholder before I get around to making the pantocrator mosaic.

You're absolutely right that the build im making rn is quite discordant with the Palaiologan-era hagia sophia. Honestly, as the build progressed I realized that its alot more fun to build the Hagia Sophia as it was in its pre-1204 state. There's alot more to work with in terms of historical descriptions, and its just a cooler build all around imo, so many more little details and bygone treasures to work with. So, I opted to make the build cover the more general concept of "Byzantine-era Hagia Sophia", including elements from both the pre-1204 hagia sophia (templon, ambo, ciboreum, reliquaries, etc.) And the palaiologan-era Hagia Sophia (Deesis mosaic, Eastern conch arch mosaics, sweating column of St. Gregory the wonderworker, etc.) With a heavy focus on the pre-1204 state of Hagia Sophia.
1
12/14/2020 3:08 pm
Level 38 : Artisan Cake
marvelfannumber2
I see, oh well. Would have been pretty cool to see a Palaiologan Hagia Sophia, I don't think anyone has actually done that before.

By the way, why are you calling this 1:1? It's obvious just looking at it, that the scale is not 1 block = 1 meter.
1
12/14/2020 6:51 pm
Level 5 : Apprentice Crafter
RandyDandy63
How do you mean? I thought I did the scaling pretty well
2
12/09/2020 2:05 pm
Level 1 : New Crafter
TeamAthos
Good job! keep up.

Is there a download coming?
1
12/09/2020 6:48 pm
Level 5 : Apprentice Crafter
RandyDandy63
Yes, once the build is completed I will upload a new page with a finished list of all my sources, pics of the build, and a downloadable map.
2
12/10/2020 6:01 am
Level 1 : New Crafter
TeamAthos
Oh thank you very much. Im looking forward for it.
2
12/04/2020 6:29 pm
Level 5 : Apprentice Crafter
RandyDandy63
Second update, apse completed, conch arch mosaics improved. Give me feedback as to what you guys thinks so far.
1
12/03/2020 3:17 amhistory
Level 5 : Apprentice Crafter
RandyDandy63
Update, dome added, although still a WIP.
2
12/02/2020 12:57 pm
Level 21 : Expert Theorist
Kord
Very impressive, I look forward to seeing it completed!
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