Hagia Sophia museum in Istanbul was turnewd into a mosque

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Hagia Sophia museum in Istanbul, built 1,500 years ago as an Orthodox Christian cathedral, has been turned back into a mosque after a court annulled the site’s museum status.

Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest in 1453. It was a part of Unesco World Heritage site and now Unesco has said it “deeply regrets” the actual decision. It called on the Turkish authorities to “open a dialogue without delay.” The head of the Eastern Orthodox Church has condemned the move. “The nationalism displayed by President Erdogan… takes his country back six centuries,” Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said. On the other part, the Council of State said Friday: „It was concluded that the settlement deed allocated it as a mosque and its use outside this character is not possible legally. The cabinet decision in 1934 that ended its use as a mosque and defined it as a museum did not comply with laws.”

Hagia Sophia was built in the year 537 at the request of the Byzantine emperor Justinian. In 1453, in a devastating blow to the Byzantines, Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II captured Istanbul. The Ottomans soon converted the building into a mosque. It was turned into a museum in 1934 and today it was Turkey’s most popular tourist site, attracting more than 3.7 million visitors a year.

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