"Their capital was the New Rome, Constantinople; their sacred shrine, succeeding the temple of the Pantheon, was the Church of Hagia Sophia, the Holy Wisdom, consecrated to the one God alone. This great church rose in the sixth century a symbol of Christ’s wisdom; a masterpiece of volume, scale, and architectural style; an embodiment of the power, grandeur, and spirit of a mighty empire, uniting East with West."
"Hagia Sophia, with all its decoration and ornament, was finished in the short space of five years, ten months, and four days. The building itself was a unique architectural creation. It fused the ideas of imperial Rome with those of Christian Byzantium, and for the first time, it achieved for Christian architecture “a truly monumental form.” Its design marked the decline of the basilica and the ascendancy of the dome."