Hagia Sophia Minbar
One of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture, the Hagia Sophia, is one of Istanbul's major attractions, and rightfully so. Having landed just hours before, I didn't let a little think like jet lag slow me down of my first day in the city that spans two continents. Though it proved a bit challenging to get into the Hagia Sophia (I had to check my tripod and have my bag searched a few times, I was rewarded with incredible architecture, great mosaics, and an overall moving experience of being in a structure that has served as a church, mosque and museum over 1,600 years. As a mosque, the Hagia Sophia has served as a model for many other great mosques, including the several in Istanbul itself. This scene of the Minbar (pulpit) captured my eye given the light and the detail associated with the railing and screens, as well as the huge mosaics of Arabic words (just barely visible above the Minbar).