Architecture · Medieval Art and Architecture

Hagia Sophia and Its Complex History

Here’s my guide to understanding all the controversy surrounding the recent decision to turn Hagia Sophia back into a mosque. While I’m not the biggest fan of this news, I think it is important to fully understand all the facts behind such a tricky issue.

Hagia Sophia as a mosque
Gaspare Fossati & Louis Haghe, Vue générale de la grande nef, en regardant l’occident – An illustration of the nave of the Ayasofya Mosque/Hagia Sophia from the period when it was in use as a mosque, 1852, Library of Congress, Washington, DC, USA.

In my piece for DailyArt Magazine, you’ll learn about Hagia Sophia’s 1500-year history, artistic significance, and importance to two major religious and cultural groups. I hope that the article is helpful, because it was a real job to research and write it!

Hagia Sophia Becomes a Mosque – What You Need to Know“. Published on DailyArt Magazine, July 23, 2020.

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4 thoughts on “Hagia Sophia and Its Complex History

  1. Its probably worth saying for readers who don’t travel a lot that many museums in Eurasia are already Christian, Moslem, Buddhist, Hindu, or Shinto holy sites and visiting them as an outsider is not usually a big deal. If you are visiting Italy you pop into cathedrals and remove your hat, if you are visiting Iran you wander through mosques and cover your hair and your shins, the tourists and the worshippers can find ways of working around each other. But its always sad when historical sites get caught up in modern politics.

    1. You make an excellent point, Sean. Thanks for bringing that up. I agree that it’s never a good day when politics get in the way of us appreciating our shared human heritage, but with two faiths feeling that they have competing claims to the site, there was no way this wasn’t going to get political.

      1. You had a paragraph on it in the linked article, I might just emphasize it more! The government in Turkey may change in the near future due to a lot of unpopular decisions.

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