Hundreds call for Hagia Sophia to be converted into mosque in Istanbul rally

Hundreds call for Hagia Sophia to be converted into mosque in Istanbul rally

ISTANBUL - Anadolu Agency
Hundreds call for Hagia Sophia to be converted into mosque in Istanbul rally

HÜRRİYET Photo

Hundreds of people demanded that the historic Istanbul Hagia Sophia museum be converted into a mosque during a rally in Istanbul on May 24.


People gathered outside Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia, in the historical Sultanahmet district, with some carrying signs that read: “Hagia Sophia needs to be reopened as a mosque,” and “Let our lives be sacrificed for Islam.”

The protest was led by many Turkish nongovernmental organizations, including the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (İHH).

Designed as a Christian basilica in the sixth century by Anthemios of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus, Hagia Sophia is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Hagia Sophia remained a center of Orthodox Christianity until 1453, when the city was conquered by Ottoman Turks under Sultan Mehmed II, known as the Conqueror of Istanbul. After 916 years of service as a church, he ordered Hagia Sophia to become a “victory mosque,” symbolizing the Muslim conquest. The mosaics of the church were covered with plaster and were successfully restored in the 20th century. 

Hagia Sophia was used as a mosque for 482 years. Following the Ottoman Empire’s collapse, it was converted into a museum by republican officials in 1935.