ISTANBUL, KOMPAS.com – Turkey’s top court on Thursday (2/7/2020) will decide on the status of Hagia Sophia, a world-famous site located in Istanbul and a museum after previously being a church and mosque.
Here are 5 international facts about Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey:
Also read: Plan to Change Hagia Sophia into a Mosque, a Polemic, Turn Turkey Divided
1. Hagia Sophia, One of the World Heritage Sites
The Hagia Sophia building was first built as a church between 532 to 537 AD under Emperor Justinian I and is considered the most important Byzantine structure.
After the Ottoman Caliphate (Ottoman Empire) conquered Constantinople (now Istanbul) in 1453, the Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque before opening as a museum in 1935 after the modern Secular Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923.
Hagia Sophia is a world heritage site that was registered at UNESCO in 1985.
Also read: Want to Remain a Museum, US Refuses Hagia Sophia to Become a Mosque
2. The official status of Hagia Sophia is a museum
Hagia Sophia is still a museum and is always visited by tourists from various countries every year.
The building is the most popular tourist attraction in Turkey in 2019 with a total of 3.8 million visitors.
But now, there are several religious activities carried out in the Hagia Sophia museum lately. Erdogan also read the Koran in 2018 inside the historic building.
Also read: Hagia Sophia Proposed to Be a Mosque and Church