11 Jun 2017

Bond and Tania meet in Hagia Sophia - Istanbul

In From Russia With Love, Bond arranges a meeting with Tatiana Romanova in the Hagia Sophia (saint Sophia) where Tania is delivering a plan of the Russian consulate to Bond. Bond is blending in with a tourist group and watches Tania leave a powder compact by a pillar, for Bond to pick up. She is unaware that she has been followed by one of the Bulgars.

Tania is coming in between the pillars from the south gallery as Bond and a group of tourists pass the alabaster urn in the north west corner. However, Bond spots a Bulgar who has been following Tania to the Hagia Sophia and he hides behind a wall. The Bulgar is standing close to the north gallery, where Tania is heading.

As Bond signals to Tania where she shall leave her powder compact with Bond's information, a few of the large windows on the north wall are visible.  

It was constructed in 537 AD. Until 1453, when Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Empire, it served as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral and was the seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople. It had remained the world's largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years. When the Ottomans took over the cathedral was converted to a mosque. It was finally opened as a museum the the 1930's.

Because of the history of Hagia Sophia, or the Aya Sofya in Turkish, it is even more interesting to visit the church than it is as a Bond location. Needless to say, a cathedral constructed over 1500 years ago and the largest cathedral for almost a thousand years is a must see when in Istanbul. There is old Christian mosaic art preserved inside that is over one thousand years old.

As a Bond location, the Aya Sofya is perhaps a little less interesting than the Basilica cistern but the fact that it is a museum keeps the Bond locations inside almost untouched and well recognisable.

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