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HAGIA SOPHIA GRAND MOSQUE

HAGIA SOPHIA GRAND MOSQUE
HAGIA SOPHIA GRAND MOSQUE
HAGIA SOPHIA GRAND MOSQUE
HAGIA SOPHIA GRAND MOSQUE
HAGIA SOPHIA GRAND MOSQUE
HAGIA SOPHIA GRAND MOSQUE
HAGIA SOPHIA GRAND MOSQUE
HAGIA SOPHIA GRAND MOSQUE
HAGIA SOPHIA GRAND MOSQUE

HAGIA SOPHIA MOSQUE

The name Hagia Sophia is a Greek-derived name. Hagia means “saint” and Sophia means “wisdom” (as in “philosophy”), so the two words together indicate a meaning close to “Holy Wisdom.”

The structure we know today as Hagia Sophia is the last of a series of structures that were built at the same location. Before this one, two other Hagia Sophias had been built. Both were reduced to rubble after two different riots. The second of these riots was against the Byzatine Emperor Justinianus, who survived it and decided to rebuild Hagia Sophia, but this time more grandly and more ostentatiously. It was completed between the years 532–537, and with its majestic appearance, it succeeded in restoring Justinianus' damaged reputation after the riot. 

The Conquest in 1453 was a turning point for Istanbul and subsequently for Hagia Sophia too. In the wake of taking the city after a legendary siege, Sultan Mehmed II The Conqueror had the structure converted into a mosque. Not into an ordinary mosque, of course, but the main imperial mosque. Starting from the city’s first congregational Friday Prayer,  Hagia Sophia became the Sultan’s venue of choice for weekly Friday Prayers. In fact, Sultan Mehmed II built his home palace—Topkapi Palace—right behind Hagia Sophia.

As a result of this change, Hagia Sophia underwent multiple revisions. A minaret was added to the main body of the structure, decorative faces were plastered over, and a prayer niche (mihrab) was added, facing Mecca. Some additional structures such as a madrasah, several tombs, and a fountain were also added to the mosque complex.

Throughout the later centuries of the Ottoman Empire, Hagia Sophia Mosque maintained tremendous significance, and was attended by thronging congregations.

As time went by, historical turning points of Istanbul kept affecting Hagia Sophia. In  1934, it was converted to a museum. Its minarets and prayer niche stayed put, but the mosaics were restored and the structure was converted into a museum.

The conversion of Hagia Sophia back into a mosque is a very recent occurrence. The legal process to turn it back into a mosque was initiated in July 2020 and in the same month, this request was approved. Without further delay, Hagia Sophia became a mosque once again on July 24th, and hosted congregational prayer for the first time in almost a century.

 

 

Visiting times of mosques changes as the prayer time changes.
Please contact us to learn about visiting hours  

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