The structural culture during the Byzantine empire has been shaped by its wide geography and different cultures which have existed during those times. The acceptance of Christianity also had a major effect on the architecture. That is why it is possible to see different formations of architectural structures during the existence of the Byzantine Empire.
The most important materials used in Byzantine architecture are bricks, stones and wood. In the Byzantine architecture, it is possible to see two chief types of plan in use: the basilican, or axial, type and the circular, or central, type.
Below you can find the most magnificent Byzantine structures that have survived until this day;
1- The House of Virgin Mary In Ephesus
The Virgin Mary Church is based in Selcuk which is located in Izmir and is thought to be constructed in the 4th century. The church is considered to be a 6th-century structure. The Virgin Mary Church in Ephesus is one of the most beautiful examples of the early Byzantine structure.
2- The Church Of Hagia Eirene
In the district of Fatih in Istanbul, The Church of Hagia Eirene is considered to be the most important representative of a Roman basilica. Hagia Eirene is a Byzantine church in the city which retains its original atrium. There is a great cross in the half-dome above the main narthex. The church was enlarged during the 11th and 12th centuries. The Church of Hagia Eirene is a must see if you would like to understand the early stages of Byzantine architecture.
3- The Church Of St Pierre
St Pierre Church in Hatay province was built near the Habib Neccar mountains. It is also known as the first church where the first Christians performed their rituals and prayers. It is said that one of the 12 apostles of Jesus, Saint-Pierre(St. Peter) came here after the crucifixion of Jesus AD 29-40 and tried to spread Christianity in this area. This structure is known as the first church that was ever built in history.
4- The Monastery of Stoudios
The Monastery of Stoudios is located in the Fatih district of Istanbul and was historically the most important monastery of Constantinople. The monastery which became an important religious centre during the Eastern Roman period had residents of the monastery which were referred to as Stoudites. They were called Stoudites because they never stopped their rituals day or night. This structure also has a great importance in terms of early Christian architecture.
5- Hagia Sophia
Although Hagia Sophia has a questionable history, it is confirmed by the Byzantine historian Socrates that it was built by Constantinos the 2nd and had a grand opening on February 15, 360. The Hagia Sophia as we know today had three different constructional phases.
Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque with the conquest by Mehmed the 2nd. During the 16th and 17th centuries structures representing a mosque was added to the actual building. In February 1st, 1935 Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum by Atatürk and the Council of Ministers.