Turkey to Convert Hagia Sophia Museum into a Mosque

Hagia Sophia is one of the most famous and recognizable buildings​ in the world.

Hagia Sophia Museum is one of the most famous and recognizable buildings​ in the world. (Getty Images)

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has asked his party members to conduct a comprehensive study on how to convert Istanbul’s famous Hagia Sophia landmark, currently a museum, into a mosque, a local newspaper reported on Friday.

During a top party meeting earlier this week, Erdoğan recognized that Hagia Sophia was recommenced as a museum in 1935 after a Turkish cabinet decision, and said that it should be up to Turkey itself to reverse that decision. The Hürriyet Daily said that Erdogan wants to keep the status quo of Hagia Sophia as a tourist attraction like the neighboring Blue Mosque, but open it for Islamic prayers.

“Prayers can be performed, and Surah Al-Fatiha can be recited in the Hagia Sophia. Only our great nation can decide this,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said at the MYK meeting, according to anonymous sources quoted by the newspaper.

A ferryboat passes the Bosphorus strait, with Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia in the background (AFP)

The matter of Hagia Sophia’s status came up when Turkey marked the 567th anniversary of the Ottoman conquest of the former Byzantine capital by reading passages from the Noble Qur’an, for the first time in decades, in the Hagia Sophia.

Greece objected to the recitation of the Qur’an, while Ankara shot back, accusing Athens of making “futile and ineffective statements.”

Verses of the Noble Qur’an were recited in Hagia Sophia, for the first time in decades, last week.

Hagia Sophia functioned as a Christian church for 916 years.

Built-in 537 CE, as a Greek Orthodox church, Hagia Sophia was famous for its massive dome. It was an engineering marvel and the world’s largest building at the time. Historians considered it the height of Byzantine architecture.

From 537 till 1453, it served as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral and the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, except between 1204 and 1261, when the Fourth Crusaders, under the Latin Empire, converted it to a Roman Catholic cathedral. 

When the Ottomans conquered İstanbul, Fatih Sultan Mehmet converted Hagia Sophia into a mosque in 1453. It had that honorable status for 482 years until 1935, when the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, converted it to a museum since.

Interior of Hagia Sophia.

Tourists who will now come to visit mosques in Istanbul will visit “Hagia Sophia not as a museum, but as a mosque,” the Turkish President said.

Hagia Sophia, dubbed the “Eighth Wonder of the World” by some historians, due to its architecture and art history, is one of the most visited places in the world.

  • Turkey should hand it over to the Orthodox christians …their most sacred worship place for centuries…and was taken over by muslims..

  • as soon the lock down is open, the first thing im doing is visiting Turkey.

  • ہیگا صوفیہ آرتھوڈوکس عیسائیوں کی تاریخی عبادت گاہ ہے، اسے مسجد بنانے کی بجائے واپس آرتھوڈوکس عیسائیوں کی حوالے کیا جانا چاہیے، اسلام دوسرے مذاہب کی عبادت گاہوں کی تکریم اور تحفظ کا کہتا ہے نہ کہ طاقت کی بنیاد پر قبضہ کیا جائے

  • Is ko support kernay walay kis moon say India ko babri masjid per bura bhala kehtay hain ?

    babri masjid to phir ek normal masjid thee. Hagia sofia orthodox christianity ka headquarter thaa.. yeh orthodox Church ko wapis kerna chahyay thaa.

  • FYI theres a huge mosque right in front on Hagia Sofia, 2 min kee walk per. is ko Masjid bananay kee koi mantaq samajh nahi aati bas ego hay.

    Ek or baat, agar yeh mantaq Bait ul Maqdas per Israelon nay apna lee to phir kia kaho gay?

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