Hagia Sophia

Ottoman-era grand mosque and former Byzantine Orthodox patriarchal cathedral

Hagia Sophia (Greek: Ἁγία Σοφία, meaning the Holy Wisdom) is a mosque in the eastern Bosporus of Istanbul, Turkey. It was originally a Byzantine Eastern Orthodox cathedral and was turned into a mosque after the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Empire. The walls and floor of the building are from the Late Antiquity and the decorations, including mosaics and frescoes, are mostly from the Middle Ages.

Hagia Sophia, minarets were added after it became a mosque


Hagia Sophia, 1903



Hagia Sophia was the third church built in this location. It was built between 532 and 537 as the cathedral of Constantinople, the capital city of the Eastern Roman Empire during Late Antiquity. Byzantine emperor Justinian the Great ordered the construction. The architects were Anthemius of Tralles and Isidore of Miletus. Greek historian Procopius wrote about Hagia Sophia's construction. The building's roof (a large dome) fell and had been rebuilt many times. An earthquake in 994 damaged the cathedral, it was rebuilt by Trdat the Architect.[1][2]

Hagia Sophia was used as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral until 1453, except during the Latin Empire when it was turned into a Roman Catholic cathedral.



In 1453, after the Fall of Constantinople, Ottoman Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror turned Hagia Sophia into a mosque.[2]

It became a museum in 1935 after the decision of the secularist Turkish government under Kemal Atatürk in 1934. In July 2020, the Turkish government under Tayyip Erdoğan ordered the Hagia Sophia to be turned back into a mosque following a supreme court annulment of a 1934 presidential decree that made it a museum.[3]

Other websites


  Media related to Hagia Sophia at Wikimedia Commons


  1. "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Byzantine Architecture". www.newadvent.org. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Catholic Encyclopedia - Constantinople". Archived from the original on 5 August 2010. Retrieved 4 March 2007.
  3. "Turkey's Erdogan orders the conversion of Hagia Sophia back into a mosque". CNN. 10 July 2020. Retrieved 11 July 2020.