February 01, 2011

New book casts light on legends of Istanbul's Hagia Sophia

Legends have been told about Istanbul's historic Hagia Sophia for centuries but there has never been any scientific investigation of the myths, says Ferhat Aslan, the author of a new book examining the claims surrounding the seminal building throughout its history. ‘Ayasofya Efsaneleri’ (Legends of Hagia Sophia) will hit bookshelves in the near future.

A subject of wonder ever since it was built, Istanbul’s Haghia Sophia is the focus of a new book that delves into the legends associated with the iconic 1,500-year-old religious and cultural edifice.

“Even with the rich literature about the structure, the legends of Hagia Sophia had not been gathered and examined with scientific methods. In order to contribute to reducing this gap, we have written this book to determine the legends of Hagia Sophia in written, oral and electronic resources, bring them together in a book, prevent them from disappearing and help them be preserved for future generations,” Aslan said.

Aslan said he had asked many questions about the reality of the legends during his study.

“A ‘legend’ is a kind of anonymous public expression which includes extraordinary events and is believed to be real. Legends grow from historical incidents that have deeply affected a society,” he said.

“The myths about Hagia Sophia are divided into four sections: ‘Byzantine-era myths,’ ‘Ottoman-era myths,’ ‘republican-era myths,’ and ‘ritualized myths,’” Aslan said.

 “Ayasofya Efsaneleri,” which will hit bookshelves in the near future, was produced with support from Istanbul University and the Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture Agency.

Read more on Hürriyet Daily News: New book casts light on legends of Istanbul's Hagia Sophia


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