Buttresses

Buttresses

The walls of Hagia Sophia faced the risk of evolving outside both in East-Roman and Ottoman periods because of the weight of its dome.

The pressure of the main dome on various directions had been tried to be met by the half domes extended with exedras at east and west, the columns of lateral naves, arcades and cross vaults connecting to these each other; however these were not sufficient. First East-Romans, then Ottomans had prevented the pressure of dome by building external buttresses. Architect Sinan had reinforced the spaces between grades and lateral walls by arches in order to solve this problem; furthermore he had supported the structure by building heavy buttress walls. Besides, the supporting walls of East-Roman period had been re-built and taken in stone protections. There are 24 buttresses in Hagia Sophia. Some of them belong to East-Roman period, some of them belong to Ottoman period and the others belong to both East-Roman and Ottoman Empires. 7 of these buttresses are at east, 4 of them at south, 4 of them at north, and 5 of them at west. The remaining 4 of are supporting the structure as weight towers.
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