Hagia Sophia, a Greek word meaning "holy wisdom," is one of the greatest monumental buildings in the history of the world. The building, located in Istanbul, was built by Justinian, who was a Greek empire in medieval times. Being a Christian, the Justinians empire was attacked and one of his greatest buildings destroyed. When Justinian fought and slaughtered the enemy soldiers, he decided to show his power and piety in equal measure. In this regard, he assembled a team of Greek professors who included mathematicians, physicists and scientists. His intention was that they make a building that was reminiscent of the Roman Empire. The building would show his mighty and power as the Greek empire, and show his piety as a Christian. The building of the church initially took six years. However, after the invasion by the Muslims the church became a mosque. It has now been transformed into a secular museum. The architects of the museum were a team of professors and renowned contractors. After its dome had collapsed, Justinian contracted the nephew of the original architect to redesign the dome. The techniques used were those of using as less heavy materials as possible so that the building was light and flexible. This building was crucial in the middle Ages, as it was a sign of power and piety for the Greek emperor, Justinian.
Hagia Sophia has survived its present location as it has withstood several earthquakes that have destroyed the other nearby buildings. Specifically, it survived the 1999 earthquake attack that was of a high magnitude. The natural event that the building faces is that of future earthquakes. There is no guarantee of the scale of an earthquake that Hagia Sophia will be able to withstand. The other challenges are that of the struggle for the ownership rights between the Christians and the Muslims. Further, the ageing nature of the building has led to cracks, which require repairs. Modern teams of architects have used a shake table experiment to test the structural integrity of the building. In this regard, they have used a scale of 1:26 and simulated an earthquake on the enormous scale marvel to test how strong the building is. The purpose of the experiment is to ensure that the necessary interventions are made to the building so that it withstands a huge earthquake. The experiments established that the building could withstand a high magnitude earthquake. However, the results were not conclusive as the experiment was just the first. However, the results showed the structural soundness of the building to some extent.
I believe that this is a valid way to test medieval structural soundness in the absence of any other evidence that can verify the structural integrity of such buildings. In this regard, the results of the experiment if well interpreted can have a significant impact on the prevention of medieval structures from natural events. However, I am aware of the fact that the trial can be marred by a procedural mistake, which will lead to the wrong conclusion. Notably, the reliability of information obtained from such an analysis is dependent on the ability of the architects to match the scale and use the right procedure. Indeed, in the absence of any other tests, the shake table mechanisms serve as the ideal experiment to verify the soundness of such structures.
YouTube,. (2016). Hagia Sophia: Istanbul's Mystery Nova PBS [MMXV]. Retrieved 29 February 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlkkLNd4P44
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