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The Hagia Sophia 

Justinian's Hagia Sophia (532-537) or the Church of Divine Wisdom located in Istanbul, Turkey is one of the most extravagant buildings of all time and my all-time favourite. After being built, it remained the largest building for almost 1,000 years and was the central focus of religious life in Constantinople. It is the place where Byzantine emperors were crowned. 
At the centre of the building, architects constructed four huge limestone supports. These supports (piers) formed a square and four arches were built on top. Inside the arches were triangle shapes called pendentives. Pendentives are curved so that they fill the spaces when a round building is placed on a square one. In other words, the dome was placed on the arches and the pendentives filled in the gaps. The dome was made of flat bricks laid with thick mortar over wood scaffolding.
You Can Hear Hagia Sophia's Sublime Acoustics Without a Trip to ...

Windows penetrate the base of the dome and let in lots of light to the interior spaces. The curved ceilings are very heavy and their weight creates an external force that moves outward. This is called horizontal thrust. Additional support is required to prevent the dome from collapsing onto itself due to horizontal thrust. For the Hagia Sophia, builders placed buttresses between the windows for extra support. This created a rib-like structure. 


The interior space goes east and west, there are two half domes (buttresses) pushing against the main dome for extra support. the half domes are reinforced with semi-domes. All of the components come together to force the weight back down to the foundations. The builders included four large rectangular blocks that push against the piers to help distribute the weight evenly across the foundation. The interior walls beneath the main arches have a lot of windows and columns (colonnades) Unfortunately, 20 years after it was built, there was a large earthquake that caused one of the semi-domes and part of the main dome to collapse. The renovation changed the structure a bit, opting for a more hemispherical shape to combat the tremendous forces on the dome. Turns out, the original dome was too shallow to handle all the force. The new architect, Isidore the Younger (nephew of one of the original architects), added heavier buttresses and a steeper dome.

You can't look at this building and tell me it's not one of the prettiest buildings you've ever seen. Actually, it'd be pretty easy to do that considering it's pretty for humans to lie and I don't know what you've seen and we may have different tastes in buildings. Maybe you're into art deco, not my thing but who am I to judge. Anyway, this is my favourite building of all time.

Columns of Hagia Sophia (Illustration) - Ancient History Encyclopedia

- Athena


How Pepsi briefly became the 6th largest army in the world

In the summer of '59, there was a plan to hold an "American National Exhibition" in Moscow, to display the "average American home" and attempt to show off the benefits in the world of capitalism. Shortly after, there was a Soviet show in New York. The American exhibit was filled with labour reducing gadgets and tools that the average American wage could supposedly afford. One company, in particular, decided to take advantage of the exhibitions. Donald M. Kendall (Future CEO of Pepsi company) insisted that Vice President Richard Nixon encourage Soviet leader Khrushchev to try Pepsi.

During the exhibition, Nixon and Khrushchev got into an infamous argument known as the "Kitchen Debate" Afterwards, Nixon took Khrushchev to the soft drink vending booth and you can probably guess what happened next. Krushchev loved the product and took it to his associates. In 1972, Pepsi and the Soviet Union solidified a deal that provided the Soviet Union with Pepsi while preventing Coca Cola from being imported. 

Pepsi did not accept Russian Rubles as payment and instead, took vodka. This worked well in the beginning until the sales began to increase. When vodka wasn't enough to pay for the immense amounts of Pepsi the Soviet Union was consuming. In addition, in 1980, the USA boycotted Soviet products, this includes, vodka.  In 1989, the Soviet government and Pepsi signed a strange agreement in which Pepsico acted as a middleman to scrap 17 old submarines and three warships. The Soviet Union sold Pepsi the submarines and warships and then Pepsico sold them to a Swedish company for scrap recycling.

In 1990, Pepsi made a $300 million deal with the Soviet Union, the deal was that Pepsi would supply soda until 2000. Plus, Pizza Hut would be allowed to open a store in the Soviet Union. Under the agreement, Pepsi could double its production in the USSR and upgrade its bottling facilities there. In exchange, the USSR was to build an oil tanker fleet for Pepsi. Pepsico would lease the tankers lease to other companies and get money out of it.