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The gallery railing that looks down into the central nave of Hagia Sophia contains runic inscriptions carved by a Norse member of the Byzantine Emperor’s Varangian Guards during the Viking Age (8th – 11th Century). Scholars think its says the equivalent of “Halfdan (meaning ‘half Danish’) was here.” I knew we’d find the pagan Vikings in here somewhere! Seems like everywhere I go, there’s a Scandinavian connection.

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