Discover Magazine Engineering Secrets of Hagia Sophia

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For 1500 years the dome atop Haiga Sophia has soared above instanbul. For the first 800 of those years it was the largest domed building in the world. But how big is it? You could put the Cathedral of Notre Dame inside it. That this wonder of the ancient world still stands is remarkable, but when you consider where it stands it becomes miraculous. At the intersection of two contents is Turkey. Istanbul, once the ancient city of Constantinople, is at ground zero in one ofthe nmost deadly earthquake zones on earth. Since the beginning of recorded history, 4000 years ago, the city has been periodically hit by a series of massive earthquakes. But while buildings around it have toppled, Haiga Sophia and it’s amazing dome have survived 15 centuries of devastation. Is this by chance or by design. Dr. Amit Chakma of Princeton University is searching every inch of the structure seeking to answer that question.