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.
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!
Alexandra Kiely, aka A Scholarly Skater, is an art historian based in the northeastern United States. She loves wandering down the dark and dusty corners of art history and wholeheartedly believes in visual art's ability to enrich every person's life.
Her favorite periods of art history are 19th-century American painting and medieval European art and architecture. When she not looking at, reading about, writing about, or teaching art, she's probably ice dancing or reading.
View all posts by Alexandra Kiely (A Scholarly Skater)
4 thoughts on “Hagia Sophia and Its Complex History”
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.
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.
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.
Yeah. That tracks with what I’ve heard.