Hagia Sophia is Now a Mosque

Hagia Sophia is Now a Mosque
The Unesco World Heritage site will be turned back into a mosque , Photo Credit: Shutterstock

The decision was announced by Turkey’s President and has received a mixed response internationally

OT Staff
July 11 , 2020
01 Min Read
The world famous Hagia Sophia, which became a museum in 1934, will be turned back to a mosque. The decision was announced by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after a top Turkish court annulled the site's current status. 

Hagia Sophia which retained the status of a museum since 1934, is now being converted to a place of worship. The Unesco world heritage site was first built in the 6th century as a cathedral under the Christian Byzantine empire. Later in 1453, after the Ottoman conquest, the cathedral was converted into a mosque and subsequently to a museum in 1934. Historically significant to the Roman Empire, currently, the monument garners massive attention especially from international travellers. 

Inside Hagia Sophia

President Erdogan emphasised that the country has exercised its sovereign right to convert the museum back into a mosque. 

The first prayers will be held inside the building premises on July 24 and like all other mosques in Turkey, Hagia Sophia will be open to locals and foreigners and Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The Christian emblems, including the mosaics of the Virgin Mary (covering the golden dome) will also be retained. 

In a statement, Unesco said that it "deeply regrets" the decision to turn the museum into a mosque and it “calls upon the Turkish authorities to initiate dialogue without delay, in order to prevent any detrimental effect on the universal value of this exceptional heritage, the state of conservation of which will be examined by the World Heritage Committee at its next session.”

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