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After completion, Justinian is said to have exclaimed, ? Justinian's basilica was at once the culminating architectural achievement of Late Antiquity and the first masterpiece of Byzantine architecture.Its influence, both architecturally and liturgically, was widespread and enduring in the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Muslim worlds alike.History Unfortunately nothing remains of the original Hagia Sophia, which was built on this site 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." The 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. The architects of the church were Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles, who were professors of geometry at the University of Constantinople.This second church was burned down during the Nika riots of 532, though fragments of it have been excavated and can be seen today. Their work was a technical triumph, even though the structure was severely damaged several times by earthquakes.He was amazed at the beauty of the Hagia Sophia and immediately converted it into his imperial mosque.Hagia Sophia was rebuilt in her present form between 532 and 537 under the personal supervision of Emperor Justinian I. The original dome collapsed after an earthquake in 558 and its replacement fell in 563.

For over 900 years the Hagia Sophia was the seat of the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople and a principal setting for church councils and imperial ceremonies.

In 1204 the cathedral was ruthlessly attacked, desecrated and plundered by the Crusaders, who also forcibly replaced the Patriarch of Constantinople with a Latin bishop.