Morning prayer held before Hagia Sophia to demand re-conversion into mosque
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
DHA PhotoA group of devout Muslims from across Turkey prayed before the city’s historic Hagia Sophia on the 562nd anniversary of the Turkish conquest of Istanbul, demanding that the site be turned back into a mosque.
Men and women from across the country gathered before the Hagia Sophia museum early May 31, as part of an event organized by the Anatolian Youth Association (AGD) with the motto “Break the chains, Open Hagia Sophia,” and prayed the morning prayer with a call for the reconversion of the museum into a mosque.
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, but they 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.