Time Worn


Last March my family and I spent an amazing ten days in Istanbul. Of course I took way too many photographs. Everywhere you turn, the city is a repository of history.  Looking back on them, a particular series of shots stood out. One of the most famous sights is Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya), built as a Christian basilica in 537 AD, later an imperial mosque, and now a museum. Of course it’s difficult to drag your eyes away from the soaring architecture and magnificent domes and mosaics all around you. But what really caught my attention were the floors. How many millions of people have come from all over the world to worship and marvel at this stunning building? The grooves and cracks worn into the marble tiles and cobblestones by their feet tell it all.


If you have any similar photos of the passage of time, I would love to see them. Please feel free to share by putting in a link in the comments section.


20 thoughts on “Time Worn

    1. writeejit Post author

      Thanks! The stone surfaces, rubbed smooth by so much traffic made me want to take off my shoes and walk barefoot just to feel that connection with all those who’d gone before. Presumably when it was a mosque most worshipers wouldn’t have worn shoes and would have experienced that.

  1. jacob gendelman

    I could send you a time lapse of my face over the last six years, but I don’t think that exactly what you have in mind…

    1. jack

      1500 years, countless millions of worshipers ,each leaving an invisible abrasion in the stone. What was going through their minds as they made their way? Thanks for the trip.

  2. emma shaw-smith

    Lovely photos! Beautiful, weathered stones. What soles they must have seen (maybe including mine 30 years ago)! Ex

    Emma Shaw-Smith


    1. writeejit Post author

      Thanks, Emma. Yes, that’s one of the amazing things about this building–there can’t be too many buildings in the world that have played host to so many visitors.

  3. ehkstream

    Fascinating study of the stone floor, the variety of patterns… As a stone carver I recognize the ‘repairs’ done to many of them over the centuries; the filling of each crack and fracture adds to the intrigue of traffic over them.

    1. writeejit Post author

      Thank you. The large marble slabs in the hallways particularly fascinated me–the foot traffic had worn ridges into them, like the flow of a river over sand.

  4. Pingback: TIME WORN II | Melissa Shaw-Smith

  5. Argus

    Time and its meaning/passage/effects are one of my great challenges.
    Earlier just this week I snapped an abandoned tennis club now due for demolition, to be replaced by the expanding museum. (I found an abandoned tennis ball, a manky old once-beloved racquet, and turnbuckles used to tension nets, rusted quite shut.)
    I haunt the local graveyard … anywhere and anything that illustrates Time.

    So yes, please—I’ll take you up on your kind invitation 🙂

    1. Melissa Shaw-Smith Post author

      Argus, Please feel free to post photos. Just put a link in the comments section. Love, that word, “manky”, used to hear and use it all the time in Ireland, but in the US people would look at me funny if I trotted it out.

      1. Melissa Shaw-Smith Post author

        looking forward to seeing your work, but unfortunately, the link doesn’t seem to be working.

      2. Argus


        I think I have it sussed (that link took me to my ‘edit’ page for that post) (SFX: insert sickly grin here, please) so after some fiddling I came up with this—


        —and a whole bunch of apologies for you. I did prove that earlier link, but of course it would work for me (I was logged in) … hope this fixes it. Good luck~!

  6. Pingback: On Time, and | DREAMING CAVALIER

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