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The Hagia Sophia, or ‘Ayasofya’ in Turkish, is a world-famous 6th century church-turned-mosque in Istanbul, whose blended architectural styles and vast proportions have installed it as Turkey’s most-visited attraction.
Hagia Sophia history
Whilst the original Hagia Sofia was built in the 4th century by Constantine the Great, very little remains of this structure, nor the one built after it in the 5th century. The current building dates back to between 532 and 537 AD, during which time it was constructed under the order of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian.
The architects Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles designed the Hagia Sophia in the Byzantine style, with aspects such as its impressive dome a typical feature. At this time, the Hagia Sophia served as a central religious base for the Eastern Orthodox Church.
When Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks in 1453, the building was converted to a mosque under the orders of Sultan Mehmed II. It was during its time that several dominant architectural features were added, such as the minarets at each of its four corners and the mihrab.
In 1934 the Hagia Sophia was turned into a museum in a drive to secularise Turkey, and soon became the country’s most popular tourist attraction. In 2020 however its museum status was reversed in a controversial move by Turkish President Erdogan, and it is today once again a site of Muslim worship.
Hagia Sophia today
Today the Hagia Sophia functions as a mosque yet allows visitors of all faiths and nationalities through its doors. Remnants of the first two Hagia Sophias may be viewed as well as the current building with its vast domed ceiling and ornate Muslim altars and chapels.
Outside, cannonballs used by Mehmet the Conqueror during his invasion of the city line the paths and there is an 18th century fountain for ritual ablutions.
The Hagia Sophia is a beautiful mixture of Muslim and Christian influences and architecture, including its stunning Byzantine mosaics, which can be seen in the higher galleries for a further fee. Guides can also be booked to view the Hagia Sophia in all its glory, with information about its fascinating history to match.
This site features as one of our Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Turkey.
Getting to the Hagia Sophia
The Hagia Sophia is located in the centre of Istanbul in Turkey, and can be reached via the 0-3 and D020 roads. Istanbul Airport is a 45 minute drive away, and the Sultanahmet tram stop is a 5-minute walk away.
The Complex History Of Istanbul's Hagia Sophia
Ancient, beautiful, and huge — Istanbul is not a city you can come to grips with in a single day. But with the help of travel specialist Şerif Yenen and his series of quick-guide videos, you can start unraveling the many different dimensions of Turkey’s cultural capital. For this third instalment in his series, Yenen describes the transformation of the fascinating building that is the Hagia Sophia since it was first built in 360 AD.
Hagia Sophia - History
Istanbul is supposed to have been inhabited right from the primitive times, and excavations conducted in that place have unearthed several evidences, that date it somewhere between 5500 BC and 3500 BC. Records also point to the fact that the modern Istanbul was actually a small Thracian fishing village called Semista in 1000BC, which also had a port by name of Lygos.
By 667 BC, a Greek ruler by name of Byzas, from Megara, established his kingdom here, on the advice of an oracle of Delphi, and named it Byzantium. But it was besieged by the Romans in AD 196, and became part of the Roman Empire. The ravaged city was rebuilt by the Roman Emperor, Septimus Severus, and temporarily given the name of 'Augusta Antonina'. But in 306 AD, Emperor Constantine the Great made Byzantium the capital of the entire Roman Empire, and from then on, the city was called Constantinople. The Byzantium Empire was more or less influenced by Greek culture, and was also a hub of Greek Orthodox Christianity, which resulted in the construction of several magnificent Christian architectural wonders, the prominent among them being the Hagia Sophia, which remained the world's largest cathedral till 1850.
The Roman Empire passed through much turmoil due to attack from various sources, especially the Barbarians, not to mention their internal problems, and finally, in 532 AD, during the reign of Justinian I, the city was totally destroyed due to anti government riots. Though much favored for its ideal location, that made trade and transport between continents an easy affair, this very factor also proved to be the doom of Constantinople. For several hundred years hence, it had to face a lot of assault from the Arabs, Nomadic, Persians, as well as the Fourth crusaders, who periodically occupied it.
At last, in 1453, Constantinople was attacked and conquered by the courageous Ottoman Turks led by Sultan Mehmet II, who renamed it Istanbul. It continued to function not just as an important cultural, political and commercial hub, but also as their main centre for military operations too, till World War I, after which it was occupied by the Allies.
Your browser does not support inline frames or is currently configured not to display inline frames. Sultan Mehmet II was supposed to have given the city a cosmopolitan social outlook. After deporting the remaining Byzantine population, a great many changes were made to the existing architecture in general. The old world Christian city was gradually transformed into a Muslim conurbation as the Emperor started rebuilding all churches so as to convert them to mosques. The great mosque and the Fatih College were built on the old burial grounds of the erstwhile Byzantine Emperors at the Church of the Holy Apostles. The Hagia Sophia too was converted to a mosque. But to his credit, the Sultan held a cosmopolitan outlook and for the greater part, allowed people of all faiths to settle in the vast city, and made effective use of their varied skills. Tolerance was a great virtue that was practiced by Sultan Mehmet II, and it was reflected all over the empire.Istanbul acquired a status of great importance in the eyes of all Muslims, after the conquest of Egypt, and its glory increased from leaps and bounds in the hands of its various rulers, many of whom were great patrons of art and architecture.
Although the capital of Turkey was changed from Istanbul to Ankara by Kemal Ataturk, in 1923, Istanbul still retained its attractions and continued to expand majestically. But gradually, due to the mass exodus of the various nationalities, especially after the war between Greece and Turkey, it became a prominent Muslim nation.
The Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque / Ayasofya-i Kebir Cami-i Şerifi, with its innovative architecture, rich history, religious significance and extraordinary characteristics has been fighting against time for centuries, was the largest Eastern Roman Church in Istanbul. Constructed three times in the same location, it is the world’s oldest and fastest-completed cathedral. With its breathtaking domes that look like hanging in the air, monolithic marble columns and unparalleled mosaics, is one of the wonders of world’s architecture history. The sheer dazzling beauty of mosque with its magnificent play on space, light, and color provokes worship in the believer! Hagia Sophia pose on the ground of the first hill of Istanbul, precisely at the tip of the historic peninsula, surrounded by the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn on three sides.
Today's Hagia Sophia (Turkish:Ayasofya, Latin: Sancta Sophia, Spanish: Santa Sofia, Russian:Собор Святой Софии, literally:Holy Wisdom or Divine Wisdom) is the third building constructed in the same place with a different architectural understanding than its predecessors. Hagia Sophia considered the embodiment of Byzantine Architecture and also said changed the history of architecture. By the order of Emperor Justinianos, it was built by Anthemios (mathematician) from Tralles (today's Aydin) and Isidoros (geometrician and engineer) from Miletos (today's Balat). The construction started in 532 and was completed in a period of five years and opened for worship in 537 with great ceremony. An earthquake swarm which hit the Constantinople from May 7,558 to following the years 546 and 557 were destructive. The dome of the Hagia Sophia collapsed and thousands of houses couldn't resist magnitude of quakes.
The Hagia Sophia and Byzantine city of Constantinople sacked and looted in April 1204 by the Venetians and the Crusaders on the Fourth Crusade which regarded as shocking betrayal amongst Christians. The crusader nobleman Baldwin of Flanders was crowned as emperor in Hagia Sophia, but most Byzantines refused to recognize him, and the empire fragmented into four small independent states.
IT CONTINUED TO EXIST AS A MOSQUE DURING THE OTTOMAN PERIOD
When Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror conquered the Konstantiniyye (During the Ottoman period of ruling, following names used in Turkish for Istanbul:Konstantiniyye, Stanpolis, Dersaadet, Asitane), he converted it into his imperial mosque. Buttresses were added to the Hagia Sophia’s sides to prevent it from collapse during the reign of Murad III by the historical architect Sinan who would be inspired by the ancient edifice, and fusing its style with Islamic art and aesthetics in a series of Grand Mosques. The Hagia Sophia, whose domes and walls collapsed many times during the Eastern Roman period, never collapsed again after the renovations of Sinan the Architect despite many great earthquakes in Istanbul.
From the time of Fatih Sultan Mehmet Khan, every sultan strived to beautify the Hagia Sophia even more, and the Hagia Sophia was transformed into an entire complex with structures such as mihrab, minbar, rostrum, minarets, sultan’s office, shadirvans (fountain providing water for ritual ablutions), madrasah, library, and soup kitchen. In addition, great importance was attached to the interior decorations of the Hagia Sophia Mosque during the Ottoman period. Hagia Sophia was adorned with the most elegant examples of Turkish arts such as calligraphy and tile art and the temple gained new aesthetic values. Thus, Istanbul's Hagia Sophia was not only converted into a mosque but also this common heritage of humanity was preserved and improved. It continued its existence with the addition of Ottoman architectural elements, however after 4 years of closure to the public Hagia Sophia Mosque declared as a museum with the Council of Ministers Decision dated 24.11.1934 and served as a “Memorial Museum” held by General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums Ministry. In 1985 the Hagia Sophia nominated as a section of a UNESCO World Heritage site called the Historic Areas of Istanbul, which includes Istanbul’s other major historic buildings and monuments.
On July 10/2020, a Turkish top court reversed this 1934 Cabinet decree which turned Hagia Sophia Mosque into a museum, assist for its use again as a mosque after 86-year of gap. Judges decided that as the Hagia Sophia was owned by the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Khan Foundation / Waqf, the government did not have the right to change its status. In Fatih Sultan Mehmed's waqfiyya (endowment document / foundation’s charter) which written on a 66-meter length of well preserved gazelle skin says: “All the things I have explained and designated here have been set down in written form in the foundation charter in the manner appointed the conditions may not be altered the laws may not be amended they may not be diverted from their original purpose the appointed rules and principles may not be diminished interference of any sort in the foundation is interdicted… May the curse of Allah, the angels and all human beings be upon anyone who changes even one of the conditions governing this foundation.” Sultan Fatih refers to Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque as “kenise-i nefise-i münakkase“ in his wagfiyya which translated from Ottoman Turkish as “[the] exquisitely ornamented church.“
The opening ceremony for worship in Hagia Sophia Mosque held on 24 July 2020, with the attendance of President of the Republic of Turkey Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Before the prayers, President Erdoğan recited from the Qur'an inside the reverted mosque, choosing verses from both the Surah Al-Fatihah and the Surah Al-Baqarah. Some 350,000 people participated in traditional Friday prayers at Istanbul's historic Hagia Sophia Mosque. Administrative duties for the mosque split between Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate, or Diyanet, and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Diyanet administrate religious activities, while the latter continue to administer conservation and restoration projects, and the management of relics contained within the mosque. Addressing the nation regarding Hagia Sophia Mosque’s re-opening for worship, President Erdogan said: “Hagia Sophia’s doors will be, as is the case with all our mosques, wide open to all, whether they be foreign or local, Muslim or non-Muslim. With its new status, Hagia Sophia, the shared heritage of humanity, will continue to embrace all in a much more sincere and original way.”
Authorities announced that the features of Hagia Sophia will continue to be preserved and protected, and will remain open to the public in the same manner the Blue Mosque is open to visitors and tourists of all denominations and faiths. Apart from functioning as a working mosque, the Hagia Sophia is also among Turkey's top tourism destinations for domestic and foreign visitors alike.
MOSAICS, SERMON CHAIRS: WELL WORTH SEEING!
Hagia Sophia fascinates people by not only with its awe-inspiring architectural design, but also by its gold-plated, silver-plated, glass, terracotta and colored stone mosaics, and the original ceiling mosaics of the 6th century with their floral and geometric motifs. The mosaics with figures following the icon ban in the 8th century especially Mother Mary depicted with child Jesus in her arms, the Archangel Gabriel and the Archangel Michael and Deisis stage mosaics must be seen. Some of the most famous mosaics, including a Deisis panel and imperial portraits, are found in the southwest gallery, which was used for religious meetings and ceremonies. Sultan Abdulmecid's Mosaic tughra was built between 1847 and 1849 during the restoration by the Fossati brothers. Known for its Imperial Gate, Beautiful Gate (Splendid Door) and Marble Gate, Hagia Sophia has 104 columns, some of which are brought from ancient cities. The "Omphalion” section where the emperors were crowned stands out with marble workmanship like these pillars.
Eight large round plates that were added during the Ottoman period are the work of famous calligrapher Kadıasker Mustafa Izzet during the reign of Sultan Abdulmecid. Two solid marble cubes in the side aisles, which can receive an average of 1250 liters of liquid, were brought from the ancient city of Bergama during the reign of Sultan Murad III.
The Hagia Sophia has four minarets at its corners that were added at different times. The brick minaret at the southern corner is attributed to Mehmed II, and a second stone minaret was added to the north by Mimar Sinan during his restoration. The remaining two minarets are identical and date from the Murad III period.
NON-MUSLIM TOURIST VISITING ETIQUETTE FOR HAGIA SOPHIA
All visitors, Muslims and non-Muslims are allowed to enter Hagia Sophia Mosque. Visitors should remove their shoes before stepping onto the mosque's carpets. Avoid visiting Hagia Sophia Mosque at prayer times (five times a day), especially noon praying on Fridays. Women should wear a head covering when entering to the Hagia Sophia. Headscarves are available at the Hagia Sophia Mosque entrance without a fee. Photography is allowed, however do not take pictures of people who are in the mosque to pray. Stay silent during your visit, dont run and stand in front of anyone praying. There is no entrance fee to visit Hagia Sophia Mosque, but donations are welcome.
WHILE YOU ARE HERE
The Hagia Sophia Mosque is famous for its exterior as well as its interior. The mausoleums of Ottoman Sultans outside the building are among the first to visit. There are tombs of princes and mausoleums of Sultan Selim II, Sultan Murad III, Sultan Mehmed III, Sultan Mustafa I, and Sultan Ibrahim whose reigns followed one another. Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque more than just a monument to the grandeur of human achievement and artistic expression. It also serves as the final resting place for five sultans and their families, giving it a venerated historical status befitting its age and history. The four minarets of Hagia Sophia, known to be built by Mimar Sinan, the fountain of Sibyan (elementary) school, the clock room, the fountains, buttresses, the treasury building and the soup kitchen are also increasing the magnificence of the structure.
Hagia Sophia - History
• Sophia means Wisdom in Greek Language. When we translate the full name of Hagia Sophia to English it is Shrine of The Holy of God.
• Hagia Sophia was dedicated to Logos who was the second person in the Holy Trinity, in December 25th.
• There were two more Churches accepted as Church of Holy Wisdom, but only Hagia Sophia was not destroyed.
• The Alter, the bells, sacrificial vessels and iconostasis were all removed when the church was converted into a mosque.
• When Hagia Sophia was a church 50 foot silver iconostasis was decorating inside, now it is on display in the museum.
• Only Patheon in Rome has slightly bigger dome than the dome of Hagia Sophia in the world.
• Hagia Sophia was converted in to a museum in 1935 by the first President of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
• Eastern Orthodox Church focused on Hagia Sophia for 1000 years as an important place.
• The Blue Mosque and Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul were designed with an inspiration of Hagia Sophia.
• Hagia Sophia as a museum has both Christian and Islamic influences and features today.
• Hagia Sophia has 40 windows in the area where worshipers sit and it’s known as famous reflecting mystical light.
• When the dome of Hagia Sophia was placed, walls began to lean outward because of the weight. Then walls to support to dome were built.
• A mathematician, a Scientist and a physicist designed the Hagia Sophia.
• Many Christian mosaics and frescoes were plastered over when Hagia Sophia converted in to a mosque by Sultan Mehmed II.
• Hagia Sophia is visible from far miles distances because of its grandness.
• The stone cannonballs, which were used by Mehmet the Conqueror, are on display near the entrance of Hagia Sophia.
• Hagia Sophia is one of the most important buildings in Istanbul and needs some restorations and repairs.
• Hagia Sophia was constructed over fault line and earthquake can tear the structure down. It must be strengthened with some works.
• Some repairs in Hagia Sophia are going on today but definitely needs more financing.
Life at the Top
Emperor John I Tzimiskes, the murderer of his uncle Nikephorus II Phocas in his bed in the Boukoleon Palace. John married his uncle's wife, who was his co-conspirator in the assassination.
Basil II the Bulgar Slayer and Never-Married, probably gay. Left the treasury full of gold and silver. Died in his bed and got the last available tomb in Constantine's Mausoleum in the Church of the Holy Apostles.
Marie of Antioch, a very pretty French Princess, was the second wife of Manuel I Komnenos. Murdered by Manuel's cousin, Andronikos I, who starved her to death. He also murdered her son with Manuel, Alexios, too. Poor boy, they strangled him when he was 15 and Andronikos took his 11 year-old wife as his own.
Constantine Monomachos, wasted the money left by Basil II on hand-outs to his friends, mistresses and big building projects. Married to Zoë who loved making her own perfumes and cosmetics in the palace. Her potions worked and she looked like a girl into her late 60's. She killed her first husband, Romanos, in his bath.
Manuel II Paleologus - traveled to London and Paris to get help to save the empire. The Muslim Turks thought he looked like the Prophet Mohammed. Married very late and had 9 children, including the twilight emperor, Constantine - the Last.
Here we see Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus who wrote a book on everything you would want to know about court ceremony. NOTHING was omitted and it went to a dozen books! Can you imagine how long that would take to copy? In his spare time Constantine enjoyed doing gold embroidery with real gold thread. Porphyrogenitus means he was born royal in the special Imperial Birthing Chamber that was lined with red porphyry panels from Egypt.
On this day in 532: Emperor Justinian orders the rebuilding of Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia, for almost 1,000 years was the largest Greek Orthodox Christian church in the world. Unfortunately nothing remains of the original Hagia Sophia, which was built in the fourth century by Constantine the Great.
Constantine was the first Christian emperor and the founder of the city of Constantinople, which he called “the New Rome.”
Hagia Sophia was one of several great churches he built in important cities throughout his empire.
Following the destruction of Constantine’s church, a second was built by his son Constantius and the emperor Theodosius the Great.
This second church was burned down during the Nika riots of 532, though fragments of it have been excavated and can be seen today.
Hagia Sophia was rebuilt in her present form between 532 and 537 under the personal supervision and order of Emperor Justinian I.
This order was given on February 23, 532.
It is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture, rich with mosaics and marble pillars and coverings. After completion, Justinian is said to have exclaimed, Νενίκηκά σε Σολομών (“Solomon, I have outdone thee!”).
The architects of the church were Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles, who were professors of geometry at the University of Constantinople.
Their work was a technical triumph, even though the structure was severely damaged several times by earthquakes.
The original dome collapsed after an earthquake in 558 and its replacement fell in 563. Steps were taken to better secure the dome, but there were additional partial collapses in 989 and 1346.
Justinian’s basilica was both the culminating architectural achievement of Late Antiquity and the first masterpiece of Byzantine architecture.
Its influence, both architecturally and liturgically, was widespread and enduring in the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Muslim worlds alike.
For over 900 years Hagia Sophia was the seat of the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople and a principal setting for church councils and imperial ceremonies.
In 1204 the cathedral was ruthlessly attacked, desecrated and plundered by the Crusaders, who also ousted the Patriarch of Constantinople and replaced him with a Latin bishop.
This event cemented the division of the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches that had begun with the Great Schism of 1054.
It also means that most of Hagia Sophia’s riches can be seen today not in Istanbul, but in the treasury of St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice
Despite this violent setback, Hagia Sophia remained a functioning church until May 29, 1453, when Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror entered triumphantly into the city of Constantinople.
He was amazed at the beauty of Hagia Sophia and immediately converted it into his imperial mosque.
Hagia Sophia served as the principal mosque of Istanbul for almost 500 years. No major structural changes were made at first.
At some early point, all the faces depicted in the church’s mosaics were covered in plaster due to the Islamic prohibition of figurative imagery.
Various additions were made over the centuries by successive sultans.
Sultan Mehmed II built a madrasa (religious school) near the mosque and organised a waqf for its expenses.
Extensive restorations were conducted by Mimar Sinan during the rule of Selim II, including the original sultan’s loge and another minaret.
Mimar Sinan built the mausoleum of Selim II to the southeast of the mosque in 1577 and the mausoleums of Murad III and Mehmed III were built next to it in the 1600s.
Mahmud I ordered a restoration of the mosque in 1739 and added an ablution fountain, Koranic school, soup kitchen and library, making the mosque the centre of a social complex.
The most famous restoration of the Hagia Sophia was completed between 1847-49 by Abdülmecid II, who invited Swiss architects Gaspare and Guiseppe Fossati to renovate the mosque.
The brothers consolidated the dome and vaults, straightened columns and revised the decoration of the exterior and the interior.
The discovery of the figural mosaics after the secularisation of Hagia Sophia was guided by the descriptions of the Fossati brothers, who had uncovered them a century earlier for cleaning and recording.
The Fossatis also added the calligraphic roundels that remain today.
They were commissioned to calligrapher Kazasker Izzet Efendi and replaced older panels hanging on the piers.
In 1934, under Turkish president Kemal Atatürk, Hagia Sofia was secularised and turned into the Ayasofya Museum.
The prayer rugs were removed, revealing the marble beneath, but the mosaics remained largely plastered over and the building was allowed to decay for some time.
Some of the calligraphic panels were moved to other mosques, but eight roundels were left and can still be seen today.
A 1993 UNESCO mission to Turkey noted falling plaster, dirty marble facings, broken windows, decorative paintings damaged by moisture, and ill-maintained lead roofing. Cleaning, roofing and restoration have since been undertaken.
Greece and the world have strongly denounced the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
Despite international condemnation, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan led the first Muslim prayer in Hagia Sophia in 86 years on Friday, 24 July 202O.
Recognised as a ‘day of mourning’, the Greek Foreign Affairs Ministry called the conversion “a blow to humanity’s cultural heritage.”
Hagia Sophia, the ‘nest’ and ‘infidel’ Ataturk
Hagia Sophia is at the center of a political controversy in Turkey. The conversion of the museum housed in a 6th century Christian church in Istanbul into a mosque by presidential decree sparked a big debate in the country. Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s move is seen as a turning point for the Turkish president, having generated religious, cultural, social and political consequences.
“The Hagia Sophia mosque has become the nest of the enemies of Turkey’s secular republic who are emboldened by the AKP government,” wrote historian Osman Selim Kocahanoglu in a commentary for Cumhuriyet newspaper. The latest controversy was triggered by Imam Mustafa Demirkan, who, during Friday prayers at Hagia Sophia on May 28, called Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, a “tyrant” and an “infidel.” All that was said in the presence of the Turkish president, who had earlier recited verses from the Quran. Demirkan said that Hagia Sophia was built as a temple, but there was a time in Turkey when the country’s rulers restricted Islamic prayers and turned the site into a museum. “Those who did this are tyrants. Who could be more of an infidel than them?” he said.
The comments sparked a reaction from the president of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who said that they are “creating enmity toward Kemal Ataturk and the Turkish Republic.”
This was not the first attack on the founder of the Turkish Republic. When the first Islamic prayer was held on July 24, 2020, Ali Erbas, head of Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs, spoke from Hagia Sophia’s pulpit, holding a sword in his hand: “In our faith, a property of a charitable trust is inviolable whoever touches it burns. The wish of the benefactor is irrevocable whoever violates it is cursed.” Erbas’ words were seen as targeting Ataturk because he was the one that violated the will of the conqueror by turning Hagia Sophia into a museum in 1934.
The rules of Islam
Opposition parties have also criticized Hagia Sophia’s first imam, Mehmet Boynukalin, who was appointed as soon as its status changed. In posts on social media, Boynukalin had asked for the abolition of the secular state and the enforcement of Islamic law in Turkey. “Turkey must return to the rules of Islam,” he said. His posts also caused reactions inside the ruling party. As a result, he was asked to leave the post in April.
Political analysts and opposition parties say that Hagia Sophia’s conversion has sparked a coordinated attack on the secular state and the memory of Ataturk. “Since Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque, there has been a sharp rise in attacks against the founder of Turkey, Kemal Ataturk, and insults against him. This must stop. Ataturk’s legacy was not the sword but an olive branch to global peace,” political analyst Sedat Ergin told Hurriyet newspaper. Historian Zafer Toprak said of Hagia Sophia that “Ataturk’s decision was also based on respect for the cultures that existed before the Ottoman Empire. There was also a political dimension that included the Eastern Roman Empire. With his decision, Ataturk had made Hagia Sophia a part of the world’s cultural legacy.”
Hakki Uyar, a Turkish history professor, says that “all this rhetoric inside Hagia Sophia shows that their confrontation with the founding members of the Turkish Republic and Ataturk is not over. What Ataturk did was to leave religious conflict aside and launch a fight about culture. Hagia Sophia was not the symbol of clashing but of compromise with the West. Regrettably, there is no other country in the world that is so much in conflict with the founder of that same country.”
In the early days after the imam’s remarks at Hagia Sophia, the government’s reaction was mild. However, Erdogan’s nationalist ally Devlet Bahceli reacted on June 1. “Kemal Ataturk is ours and our nation’s red line. Were it not for Ataturk, instead of hearing the sound of the imam when you were born, perhaps you would be christened.” Similarly, the spokesman of the ruling AKP party, Omer Celik, tweeted that “Ataturk saved our country, our people, our mosques.” Analysts say that the government’s reaction came only after the outcry from many Turkish citizens, not just the pro-Ataturk folk.
Many commentators say that Hagia Sophia is part of Erdogan’s policy as he sees mosques as part of his strategy. Cumhuriyet commentator Orsan Oymen speaks of a “mosque fetish.” He says that on April 28, Erdogan inaugurated a mosque in Taksim Square, a symbol of the Kemalist state. That came after he had turned Hagia Sophia into a mosque and after building Turkey’s biggest Islamic temple, the Camlica mosque. “The president said that these mosques were his dream. But these have nothing to do with the dreams of ordinary people. These are the dreams of Erdogan, of the AKP and of certain Islamic sects that support them. People dream of social and economic justice, of decent wages and of an independent justice system. There are more than 85,000 mosques in Turkey and most of them are empty over six days a week,” he said.
Last Friday, Erdogan inaugurated yet another mosque in Zonguldak. “I believe that every mosque that we build is a spiritual guard that protects the future of our people and our country,” he said before explaining his decision to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque. “We held on to this land and we made it our land with our blood, our flag and the sound of prayer heard from the mosques. This is why it was important to reopen Hagia Sophia as a mosque for worship, because it is a legacy of conquest,” he said.
Mahmut I’s Library
Mahmut I who ruled between 1730-1754, gave solid enthusiasm for Hagia Sophia. He requested fixes, and he included a library, a wellspring, an imaret ( a kitchen to serve nourishment for poor) and a school for kids to Hagia Sophia.
The library is situated on the principal floor of Hagia Sophia on the southern path. It is a rectangular room, half of the dividers adorned with marble and half top with Iznik tiles. On the east divider hangs the “tugra” (calligraphic mark) of Mahmut I. The library’s front side has six sections, and in the middle of there are bronze barbecues that shut the inside.
Erdogan revealed as Antichrist at Hagia Sophia
On July 24, 2020 Turkish President Erdogan sat in the 1500 year old Hagia Sophia Cathedral in Istanbul, Turkey showing himself that he is greater than the Christian God. According to 2Thessalonians this is how the Antichrist will be officially revealed. Erdogan official revealed himself as being the Antichrist.
It’s true that the Antichrist will desecrate the temple in Jerusalem during the second 3 1/2 year period of the seven year long Tribulation period. But I think that 2Thessalonians is describing a separate event. 2Thessalonians doesn’t identify the temple of God as being located in Jerusalem. 2Thessalonians also doesn’t mention the desecration of the temple. 2Thessalonians also doesn’t mention the stopping of the daily sacrifice.
2Thessalonians 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
Matthew 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
Another thing to consider is that the abomination of desolation will stand in the Holy place but the Antichrist will sit in the temple of God. Turkish President Erdogan sat on the floor as he recited the Quran in the dedication service of the Hagia Sophia as a mosque.
I think that the temple of God mentioned in 2Thessalonians is other than the temple in Jerusalem. I think that the temple of God mentioned in 2Thessalonians is the Hagia Sophia which is the most significant Christian Cathedral in the history of the world. Turkish President Erdogan just sat in the Hagia Sophia revealing himself as the Antichrist.
Read my commentary titled Sitting in the temple of God
Read my commentary titled The Fall of Satan and Rise of the Antichrist
Read my book Presenting the Antichrist and False Prophet
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If what you are saying has happened, then should we expect to see a radical change in the behavior, speech, and demeanor of Erdogan in the very near future? You are making a good case, but I still wonder why Paul would refer to any other place other than the known “Temple of God” during the time of his writings. If the first rule of Biblical interpretation is to interpret scripture with scripture, then why would Paul who would have had no knowledge of a world renown “Christian or Catholic Temple of God” speak of a temple other than that which was spoken of by Daniel, Jesus, John and known to his readers. This seems similar to the claim by some that the antichrist will sit on the Pope’s thrown and proclaim himself to be God. Also, the Jews are the ones who will believe that the antichrist is replacing the Hebrew God of their temple. I also thought you believed that the rapture of the church would happen simultaneously with the fall of satan. I’m wrestling with this one brother, and will keep watching and praying. You sound convinced and you know I respect your teaching. I am also convinced that America’s days are numbered, and I’m not so sure that America will be a significant part of the final days of prophecy concerning the things we are watching for. I hope I’m wrong, but I was reading the first part of James 5 this morning, which most blow right by and go to the “prayer of faith.”
The term temple of God is really the only bit of evidence that 2Thessalonians provides that would lead us to think that Paul is identifying the temple in Jerusalem. Other than that there are no similarities to the abomination of desolation. The Antichrist will sit in the temple of God. The abomination will stand in the Holy place. In 2Thessalonians there is no mention of all of the commotion that accompanies the invasion of Jerusalem.
Think about it. The apostle Paul is telling the early Church when the Tribulation will begin. The abomination of desolation will happen on the day that the Antichrist will invade Jerusalem. That day begins Jerusalem’s great Tribulation. Why didn’t the apostle Paul just say that the Tribulation will begin when the Antichrist invades Jerusalem? The event of the Antichrist sitting in the temple of God precedes the Tribulation.
I saw a speech by Erdogan shortly after he sat in the Hagia Sophia. He said that western civilization was over and that Turkey would fight until the last Turk gave his life to expand Turkey’s empire. I don’t know how much crazier a person can get.
I don’t think that the Rapture will happen simultaneously with the fall of Satan but I think that the Rapture will happen very near the time of the fall of Satan.
David I appreciate your active participation in digesting Bible prophecy. I am not very concerned with proving that Erdogan has revealed himself as the Antichrist at the Hagia Sophia. It will soon prove itself. If It’s true then Turkey will finally launch a major offensive against Hamah and Tell Rifaat (Jeremiah49:23-27), and then against Damascus. After that against Israel (Ezekiel 38).
Yes, I read that speech as well. I also read some of the pieces written by his media minions. They are saying the same things about the significance of Hagia Sophia. So, I think what you are saying is that Paul was penning an event that would identify the antichrist before the abomination of desolation mentioned by Jesus and the prophets. It seems to me that everthing the antichrist will do is a counterfeit of the events in the life of Jesus. Then, Hagia Sophia could be the counterfeit of the baptism of Jesus and confirmation of his sonship by God’s voice, John the Baptist, and the dove descending upon Him. Perhaps we will see the false prophet revealed very soon to say “prepare ye the way for the antichrist” and then satan descending upon the antichrist. Have you ever thought about one of the leading Imaans being the false prophet. However, I suppose they are already false prophets.
I suspect that Fethullah Gulen will be the False Prophet. I think that Erdogan and Gulen have planned this all along. Fethullah Gulen has promised his followers that he would return to Turkey one day as the head Imam of the Turkish Caliphate.