Travel

Hagia Sophia: The Spiritual Center Of The World

Hagia Sophia, located in the historic peninsula of Istanbul, at Sultanahmet Square, is a unique monument and architectural masterpiece. This monumental structure has hosted various civilizations throughout thousands of years, making it one of the world’s most significant cultural heritages.

Originally built as a church in 537 by Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, Hagia Sophia served as the center of the Eastern Orthodox Church for many centuries. Having functioned as a church for a millennium, the structure was converted into a mosque in 1453 when the Ottoman Empire conquered Istanbul. During the Ottoman period, Hagia Sophia underwent various architectural additions and decorations.

However, in 1935, upon the decision of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Hagia Sophia was opened to the public as a museum. During this period, numerous artifacts from both the Byzantine and Ottoman eras were displayed for visitors. With its architectural features, mosaics, and historical atmosphere, Hagia Sophia gained worldwide acclaim.

In 2020, a decision by the high court of the Republic of Turkey led to the reclassification of Hagia Sophia as a mosque. This decision sparked debates on both national and international levels, as it altered the historical and cultural status of this significant structure.

Today, Hagia Sophia stands as both a historical mosque and a symbol of Istanbul. Visitors exploring this unique building can witness the traces of both the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, embarking on a historical journey. With its architectural elegance, historical richness, and cultural importance, Hagia Sophia remains one of Istanbul’s iconic landmarks.

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Muhammed Ali Güney

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