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- "For it soars to a height to match the sky, and as if surging up from among the other buildings it stands on high and looks down upon the remainder of the city, adorning it, because it is a part of it, but glorying in its own beauty."
- –Procopius, De Aedificis
- +3 Faith
- A free Great Prophet appears. If the Civilization that builds this Wonder does it in a city that doesn't have a majority of any religion, the Great Prophet will have the religion of that Civilization's Holy City.
- Free Temple in the city
The Hagia Sophia can serve as a means of enhancing a civilization's religion without waiting for enough Faith to accumulate for the next Great Prophet. Instead, a civilization can use the accumulated faith for Missionaries to spread their religion early.
Like all Great People provided by either a Wonder or by completing the Liberty tree, the Great Prophet created by this wonder will increase the cost of subsequent Great Prophets. The Hagia Sophia appears in the Medieval Era, so it will be difficult to save the faith it generates to buy Great People in the Industrial Era without having it spent on Great Prophets automatically.
Nonetheless, the instant Great Prophet can be used to create a Holy Site, which provides a significant amount of faith (and other benefits for a civilization that completes the Piety policy tree). This is most powerful in early eras, especially when a civilization has access to Mosques, Pagodas, Monasteries, or Cathedrals to further invest in the faith. The Great Prophet can also be used to enhance their religion. Considering that timing is critical with religion, having a chance at grabbing a powerful follower belief such as Religious Community before another civilization does makes the Hagia Sophia something to consider.
Finally, since the Hagia Sophia provides a free Temple, a civilization should avoid building a Temple in the city in which it plans to build this wonder.
The Hagia Sophia, or "High Wisdom," was constructed in 530 AD as a Greek Orthodox church. It has been in service, most as a place of worship, for almost 1500 years. It is a remarkable building as it has survived many earthquakes, sometimes needing large repairs. It is a beautiful and ornate structure, built of stone and marble, and topped by a golden dome measuring over 30 m (100 feet) in diameter. An extremely difficult engineering challenge for the time, the dome has collapsed several times during its existence. Later on the Ottomans added 4 minarets, marking it one of the important mosques of the world.
The classical interior of the Hagia Sophia is a marvelous space of columns and arches extending up to the dome, which appears almost to float atop the building. It breathes the classical age, nowhere else left to be found. The interior was sheathed in colored marble and golden mosaics depicting biblical scenes and images of Christian saints.
In 1453 Constantinople was captured by the Ottoman Turks, and the Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque. Human images are not welcome in mosques, and many of the mosaics were covered with plaster. In 1934, Turkish President Kemal Atatürk turned the building into a museum. In recent years some restoration work has been done on the Hagia Sophia, and a few of the mosaics have been uncovered. Despite the ravages of time, the Hagia Sophia remains universally acknowledged as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.