Erdogan approves Hagia Sophia’s transformation into mosque. Photos
After 86 years, the Hagia Sophia, one of the main symbols of Istanbul, a shrine for the Muslim and Christian world, has been stripped of its status of museum and is now open for worship as a mosque.
On July 10, 2020, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed the decision of the State Council to repeal the Atatürk government decree of November 14, 1934 on the transformation of Hagia Sophia from a mosque into a museum.
Addressing the nation, Erdogan said Hagia Sofia would start functioning as a mosque from July 24. Admission will be free, and anyone will be allowed to visit, irrespective of their faith – just as the case is with Istanbul’s other major historic sight – the Sultan Ahmed Mosque.
On the same day, for the first time in decades, the azan, the call to prayer, sounded from the ancient hall of worship.
Hagia Sophia was built in Constantinople in 537. Aya Sofia has now had its status changed for the fourth time in its history.
At first it was an Orthodox church, then a mosque, then a museum.
After the conquest in 1453, Fateh Sultan II Mehmet issued a decree on turning the main Orthodox church of the city – the Church of Hagia Sophia, into a mosque and renaming it Aya Sofia.
Until 1931, Hagia Sophia functioned as a mosque. In 1934, the Turkish leadership closed the historical monument for worship and assigned it the status of a museum. Since 1935, the monument was open for visiting as a museum.
During the rule of Erdogan, the issue of turning Hagia Sophia into a mosque has repeatedly appeared on the agenda.
The probability of abolishing the status of the Hagia Sophia Museum has been actively discussed in Turkish society for quite some time. Judging by social networks, most support the transformation of the historical monument into a mosque. Although there are many opponents of this idea.
About the history of Hagia Sophia and the political religious upheavals around it.