Hagia Sophia

Department Archive
Collection Byzantine Research Fund
Reference No. BRF/02/02/04/006
Level Item
Place Hagia Sophia Trebizond
Dates before 1913
Donor/Creator Hasluck, Dr Frederick William
Scope and Content South porch (detail). This is a Hellenic Society photograph. It is signed (F.W. Hasluck) and numbered in pencil (H.S. 2903) at the back. Further annotation in pencil survives.
Further information Trebizond is the greatest city of Pontos, the coastal region at the south shore of the Black Sea. The city, important ecclesiastical centre from the 3rd c. already, was rebuilt by Justinian -the emperor restored the fortification system of the city and added an aqueduct to it- and flourished, after a brief period under Turkish occupation starting in 1071, between 1204 and 1461 as the capital of the empire it arose after the Latin conquest of Constantinople. During the period Trebizond prospered as a key sea-port on the route to Anatolia witnessing a flurry of artistic activity.
Hagia Sophia is a cross-in-square church with three apses (the central one pentagonal on the exterior), narthex and three porches standing on a platform with eighteen tomb-niches on the walls. A smaller church, a tower and remains of what seems to be monastic buildings stand at a close distance to the main church. A graffito in the main church dating in 1291 identifies Manuel Grand Komnenos (1238-1263) with the emperor who was named in an inscription as the founder of the monastic complex. The interior of the building is covered with an extensive fresco cycle with particularly strong eschatological connotations.