Trabzon Ayasofya Müzesi (Saint Sophia Museum Tr. & Eng. )
Günümüzde müze olarak kullanılmakta olan Trabzon Ayasofya Kilisesi, 1. Manuel Komnenos zamanında (1238-1263) inşa edilmiştir.
Fatih Sultan Mehmet’in 1461 yılında Trabzon’u fethini takiben yapı, camiye çevrilmiş ve vakıf eser olmuştur. Ayasofya, yüzyıllar boyunca şehri ziyarete gelen seyyah ve araştırmacıların ilgisini çekmiştir. Trabzon üzerine anlattıkları ile ünlü Evliya Çelebi (1648), Pitton Tournefort (1701), Hamilton (1836), Texier (1864), Trabzonlu Şakir Şevket (1878) ve Lynch (1893) yapıya önem veren kişiler arasındadır.
1868 yılında harap durumda olan caminin Bursa’lı Rıza Efendi’nin teşvikleriyle yeni baştan onarıldığı bilinmektedir. Bina I. Dünya Savaşı yıllarında sırası ile depo, hastane daha sonraları yine cami olarak kullanılmıştır. 1958-1962 yılları arasında Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü ve Edinburg Üniversitesi’nin işbirliği ile restore edilerek 1964 yılından sonra müze olarak ziyarete açılmıştır.
Saint Sophia Museum ( Trabzon Ayasofya Müzesi)
The church of Ayasofya, now used as a museum, was built during the reign of Manuel Comnenos I, king of the Empire of Trabzon (1238-1263). The bell tower to the west of the church was dated to 1427 by G. Finlay, a British traveller and scholar. The chapel with three apses, the remains of which are to the north of the church, must belong to an earlier period.
The church was turned into a mosque and became a charitable foundation when the Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror captured Trabzon. For centuries the church of Ayasofya has attention of travellers and scholars visiting the city. Among those who recognized the importance of the building were Evliya Çelebi (1648) famous for his account of Trabzon, Pitton de Tournefort (1701), Hamilton (1836), Texier (1864), Şakir Şevket of Trabzon (1878) and Lynch (1893).
It is known that the mosque, which had fallen into a state of disrepair, was restored in 1864 at the insistence of Rıza Efendi from Bursa. It was used as a depot and hospital during the First War but became a mosque again after the end of the war. Between 1958 and 1962 it was restored in a project carried out jointly by the Ditectorate of Charities and Edinburgh University. In l964 it started to be used as a museum.
The building is a very good example of late Byzantine church arthitecture.It has a cruciform plan, with a high central dome. It has a vestibule, called as a nar thex, and three aisles. The central aisle has a pentagonal apse where as the other two on the sides and semi-circular apses. There is a chapel in the narthex.
The buildings has three porches, on the north, west and south sides.
The dome is supported by four mar ble monolithic columns, with arches and pendentives and, at its base, twelve corners. The building is covered with different vaults around the central dome and tiles were arranged to give different heights to the roof.
In addition toelements reflecting the tradition of Christıan art, the influence of Seljuk art can also be observed in the stone relief which are of superior workman ship. The panels on the north and the west porches are decorated with interlocking geometric design and the ornate niches on the west side have features that are identical to stone-carving of the Seljuk period.
The most attractive side of the building is the south side . Here, on a frieze, the creation of Adam and Eve is depicted in relief. On the keystone of the arch there is a single – headed eagle motif, the symbol of the Comneni who ruled Trabzon for 257 years.
A similar eagle design is to be found on the exterior of main east apses. Among the most beautiful of the stone carving are those found on the south side of the building. They include figures of mythcal creatures such as girifons and centaurs, reliefs depicting doves, and panels decorated with central stars and crescent design and floral motifs.
Ayasofya is an important historical monument with its historical background. Besides its historical values, it also has importance for the field of art history with its centrally-planned structure, high dome, circular and polygonal apses, high worked porches and frescoes.