Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Home News Reports Turkey govt plans to convert Byzantine cathedral Hagia Sophia into a mosque again. Read...

Turkey govt plans to convert Byzantine cathedral Hagia Sophia into a mosque again. Read about this historical symbol of Muslim-Christian rivalry

The president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been vigorously endorsing the conversion of Hagia Sophia museum, the confluence of the historical rivalry between the Christian and Muslim cultures, into a mosque yet again

Recep Tayyip Erdogan headed Turkish government is all set to shun its secular foundations as it plans to convert a 6th-century Byzantine-era cathedral once again into a mosque.

In what is deemed by many as Erdogan’s push towards Islamisation of the country, the Turkish President has made moves to once against turn the 1500-year-old monument —Hagia Sophia, listed as a Unesco World Heritage site—into a mosque yet again. Hagia Sophia has been a Byzantine cathedral, a mosque under the Ottomans and finally a museum, making it an enduring symbol of the cultural rivalry between the Christians and the Muslims.

While the issue of reconverting Hagia Sophia museum into a mosque was nowhere on the list of priorities of Mr Erdogan when he entered the politics three decades ago, however, his gradual shift towards a more radicalised version of Islam, coupled with his defeat in the 2019 municipal elections in Istanbul, catapulted the historical structure right in the centre of Turkey’s politics, with the Turkish president pledging to convert the museum into a mosque again.

Erdogan, hailing from a conservative Muslim background, had presided over the gradual dismantling of Turkey’s secular traditions in recent times. Many believe that Erdogan’s latest gambit to convert the historical site of Hagia Sophia into a Muslim worshipping site is in line with his broader goal of progressive Islamisation of the Turkish society and designed specifically to gain political mileage by catering to his followers’ fundamentalist views which entails that once a mosque is sanctified, it should never be unconsecrated.

What is Hagia Sophia?

Built in the 6th-century and consecrated as the Byzantine cathedral, the iconic structure, known as “Hagia Sophia” was once Christianity’s largest cathedral and the historic seat of the Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, popularly known as Istanbul.

For about 900 years, Hagia Sophia was considered as an unrivalled pilgrimage centre for the Eastern Christians. The artefacts housed at the pilgrimage destination included alleged pieces of the original cross of Jesus Christ, along with the lance that impaled the Nazarene’s side. For centuries, Christian pilgrims found healing from these and other items.

Byzantine cathedral converted to a mosque following Ottoman conquest of Constantinopole

This is not the first time in history that the iconic cathedral of Byzantine-era will be converted into a place of worship for the Muslims. Earlier too, the cathedral was converted into a mosque.

Hagia Sophia museum in Istanbul

In 1453, the historic Byzantium fell to Sultan Mehmet II’s Ottoman forces, who pillaged the cathedral and turned it into a mosque shortly afterwards as a symbol of dominance over the indigenous Turkish Christians. In the process, the structure was desecrated and plastered upon, covering the Christian murals, mosaics and frescos—and minarets were added to the exterior sides of the building.

For about 500 years, the iconic cathedral served as one of the most important mosques in Istanbul until the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, ordered that the mosque be converted into a museum.

Atatürk converted Hagia Sophia mosque into a museum

In 1934, the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, as a gesture of goodwill and Turkey’s devotion to secularism, converted the mosque into a museum, as “a monument for all civilization.”

Claiming that the Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul was just a stone’s throw away from Hagia Sophia, there was no dearth of praying grounds for Muslims, Ataturk argued, paving the way for the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a museum.

With the end of the Ottoman Empire, Ataturk ended the role of religion in the state and closed religious institutions. Byzantine churches, cathedrals were converted into museums and tourist spots where people could come and marvel at the sheer brilliance of the Byzantine architecture without having to espouse a particular religion.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

Related Articles

Trending now

Wayanad: Bride lands for wedding in a helicopter, people gather thinking Rahul Gandhi has come

The bride, Mariya Luke from Idukki, had made a grand entry for her wedding at a church in Wayanad.

How Congress lost Gujarat to save Ahmed Patel’s Rajya Sabha seat

The 2017 Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections which were contested by Ahmed Patel were one of the lowest points for Congress.

Sonia Gandhi aide Ahmed Patel dies at 71, was infected with coronavirus

Senior Congress leader and a close confidante of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Ahmed Patel, died at 71 on Wednesday. His son, Faisal Patel took to social media to announce death of his father.

Allahabad HC upheld ‘conversion only for marriage invalid’ when a Muslim converted to Hinduism, does u-turn when a Hindu converted to Islam

The Allahabad HC had also ruled that SC had observed in several cases the right to choose a partner is an integral part of Fundamental rights

Far away from India, a Vedic ecosystem rises in Texas Gaushala

In January 2020, I shared the story of Abhinav Goswami, who decided to bring to America the gifts of ancient India

Pakistan Court, which granted custody of 13-year-old Christian girl to 44-year-old Azhar, exonerates abductor, says ‘no rape’: Shocking details

Earlier the Pakistan court had granted the custody of a 13-year-old girl Christian girl to her 44-year-old abductor Ali Azhar

Recently Popular

Anvay Naik suicide case for which Arnab Goswami was arrested: Letters exchanged, the closure report, and unanswered questions

On 4th of Nov, the country watched as Arnab Goswami was dragged out of his house by over 20 armed policemen for a closed 2018 suicide case

Fraud fact-checker accuses TrueIndology of lying, when caught, wants an HD-quality photo from 1904

Pratik Sinha's lies were exposed in an OpIndia report. After his shoddy 'fact-checking' was called out, he has now resorted to name calling and shifting goalposts.

Uttar Pradesh: Golu and Guddu kill driver Mushtaq with an axe for harassing their sister, surrender to police

The brothers, Golu and Guddu, reportedly reached the police station with a blood-stained axe and confessed to killing Mushtaq.

Fraud fact-checking: AltNews co-founder Pratik Sinha spreads fake news while attempting to ‘fact-check’ old picture of a Hindu Sadhu

AltNews's Pratik Sinha posted fake information about an old image of a Hindu Sadhu in Kashmir in his hurry to call TrueIndology as a fraud.

Muzaffarnagar: Yogi govt demolishes illegal construction on 100 Bighas of forest dept land by Islamic preacher Pir Khushal Miyan

A letter written by Union Minister of State Dr Sanjeev Balyan to the DM ordered the authorities to get the land belonging to the forest department vacated at the earliest.

Habitual offender Rehana Fathima given last warning by Kerala High Court after violating bail condition in ‘Gomatha’ cookery video

In the cookery video titled Gomatha Ularthu, Fathima kept referring to the meat as Gomatha. The High Court let her go giving her last opportunity to 'improve'.
- Advertisement -

Hyderabad elections: Owaisi makes ‘beef biriyani’ sly on BJP leaders, Raja Singh offers him pork biriyani

As an insult to BJP leaders, Owaisi had stated that they should have some biriyani at a particular hotel in Hyderabad that is famous for beef dishes.

Wayanad: Bride lands for wedding in a helicopter, people gather thinking Rahul Gandhi has come

The bride, Mariya Luke from Idukki, had made a grand entry for her wedding at a church in Wayanad.

How Congress lost Gujarat to save Ahmed Patel’s Rajya Sabha seat

The 2017 Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections which were contested by Ahmed Patel were one of the lowest points for Congress.

Sonia Gandhi aide Ahmed Patel dies at 71, was infected with coronavirus

Senior Congress leader and a close confidante of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Ahmed Patel, died at 71 on Wednesday. His son, Faisal Patel took to social media to announce death of his father.

Delhi Riots case: Court says enough material on record to proceed against Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam and Faizan Khan for offences under UAPA

All the three accused Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam and Faizan Khan were arrested for their alleged role in the anti-Hindu Delhi riots case.

Airport in Ayodhya to be named Maryada Purushottam Sri Ram Airport, Yogi gives assent

Yogi Adityanath has cleared a proposal to rename the Ayodhya Airport to Maryada Purushottam Sri Ram Airport, Ayodhya.

Karnataka High Court dismisses murder convict’s defence, says refusal to marriage cannot be accepted as ‘sudden provocation’ for committing murder

The Karnataka High Court noted that agreeing to the defence that 'grave and sudden' provocation led the accuse to murder the victim will rob the woman of her choice and dignity

Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij becomes first to get trial dose of India-made COVID vaccine

Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij was administered a trial dose of India made Covaxin at a hospital in Ambala on November 20

Habitual offender Rehana Fathima given last warning by Kerala High Court after violating bail condition in ‘Gomatha’ cookery video

In the cookery video titled Gomatha Ularthu, Fathima kept referring to the meat as Gomatha. The High Court let her go giving her last opportunity to 'improve'.

Uttar Pradesh: Shahid once again elopes with minor girl belonging to other community after securing bail; family demands strict action

Shahid had lured the same girl away in March as well after which he was jailed but sections of POCSO were not invoked.

Connect with us

245,563FansLike
488,441FollowersFollow
20,100SubscribersSubscribe