Travel guidebooks for the ultra curious, Approach Guides reveal a destination’s essence by exploring a compelling aspect of its cultural heritage: art, architecture, history, food, or wine.
For visitors to Istanbul, Hagia Sophia, which stands regally atop the first hill of Constantinople, is an iconic sight.
Hagia Sophia was the most influential church of all time and a religious center of the Byzantine Empire and has come to define the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Orthodox Christian architectural style. Use our downloadable travel guidebook to Istanbul to explore the church, which was built under the Byzantine Emperor Justinian in 532-537, and has served as a model for future religious buildings, both Christian and Islamic.
In this Approach Guide, we explore the iconic church of Hagia Sophia (built 532-537) in Istanbul (then Constantinople), the religious center of the Byzantine Empire. Our discussion centers around the church’s history, its structural and design innovations, the inspiration for its innovative centralized floorplan (versus the prevalent basilican layout), and its world-clazz mosaics.
We then explore the church's legacy, particularly as an inspiration for the greatest of Ottoman architects, Koca Mimar Sinan (1491-1588). In this context, we profile Sinan's architectural style and his contribution to the Islamic architectural tradition; in order to provide a contextual framework for Sinan’s work, we provide also provide a primer on the fundamentals of mosque architecture.
We hope you enjoy what we believe is a totally unique cultural guide to the legacy of one the world greatest churches.
One of the benefits of Approach Guides is that we can easily update content and release new editions of our guidebooks. These updates are free for existing customers. Please visit http://approachguides.com/updates for a list of recently updated guides and instructions on downloading the new version.
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Compulsive (and compulsively informed) travelers, the Raezers are the masterminds behind the downloadable Approach Guides, which are filled with a university course-worth of history and insights for 62 destinations worldwide. WHY WE LOVE IT: The Raezers share our desire for deep, well-researched information on the wonders of the world.
- Travel + Leisure
What started as one couple’s travel notes aimed at filling in the gaps in guidebooks has become ApproachGuides.com — a menu of downloadable travel guides that cover cultural and historical topics of interest to thoughtful travelers. What’s hot: Bite-sized travel guides that specialize in topics ranging from 29 pages on the foods of Italy to one that helps you explore the historical and architectural significance of Angkor’s famous temple structures in Cambodia.
- LA Times
Approach Guides encompass the whole cultural experience of a place, whether it is Ancient Buddhist Caves in India and China, Islamic Cairo, Ancient Mediterranean Mosaics, or a Guide to the Regional Foods of Italy. Each guide delves into the subject, truly exploring it (and making you want to GO THERE NOW). Perfect for the thinking traveler, Approach Guides are one of the best travel guides I’ve ever found.
- Wandering Educators