Erdogan Signs Decree Allowing Hagia Sophia to be Used as a Mosque Again

"President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a decree on Friday ordering Hagia Sophia to be opened for Muslim prayers, an action likely to provoke international furor around a World Heritage Site cherished by Christians and Muslims alike for its religious significance, stunning structure and as a symbol of conquest," The New York Times reports in the article by 

Hagia Sophia ("Holy Wisdom") is the former Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal cathedral, later an Ottoman imperial mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. It is famous for its large dome.

Built in AD 537, during the reign of Justinian, it was the world's largest building and an engineering marvel of its time. It is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is said to have "changed the history of architecture."

Built as the great Cathedral of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, it was the seat of the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople until the city fell to Ottoman conquest in 1453, except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted by the Fourth Crusaders to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire.

The building was later converted into an Ottoman mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931. It was then secularized and opened as a museum on 1 February 1935. It remained the world's largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520.

By Ana Dumbadze 



10 July 2020 19:37