Note: This article is not political, it is only a historical and scientific article.

Hagia Sophia was built for church. Returned as a mosque again after 86 years ago when Istanbul conquered by Muhammad Al-Fateh, one of the Ottoman Sultans. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk turned it into a museum in 1935.

In this article we will talk about the importance of the mosque, religious, historical, architectural, the reasons for its construction, its name, architectural styles ..... etc.

Hagia Sophia from the inside

Follow this article to know more about the building.

The Hagia Sophia building is considered one of the important historical buildings in Istanbul. It occupied a prominent place among Muslims and Christians alike. It was built in 537 during the reign of the Roman Emperor Justinian I [1]

The history of the building

The building was built three times until it reached its current form at this time.

  • The first building (Megale Ekklesa)

It was the first building in the era of the Greek Empire as a Greek Orthodox Church in the year 360 AD and then turned during the era of the Roman Empire to a Roman church where it was called when it was Istanbul in the name of Constantinople. [2]

  • The second building (Aya İrini)

After burning the wooden ceiling of the Church of Hagia Sophia, the first after internal conflicts inside the Roman Empire, Emperor Theodosius II ordered to build the church again, but he built it like the previous church, so it became vulnerable to fire again.[2]

  • The third building (Hagia Sophia)

After this fire, Justinian ordered the demolition of the former church and the construction of the new church, and it became as we currently know it.[2]

Its religious importance

The importance of "Hagia Sophia" to Christians

Hagia Sophia Church

Hagia Sophia is considered by Christians to be the largest church in its history and it has been called Hagia Sophia, as this word means.

The "holy wisdom" represents the house of worship for Christians for nine centuries. After the Muslims entered Constantinople, the church was converted into a mosque.

  • The importance of Hagia Sophia to Muslims and the story of its transformation into a mosque

Opinions differed regarding Hagia Sophia. There are two narratives:

The first is that Muhammad al-Fatih bought the church after the Muslims needed a mosque in Istanbul and it is said that there is a document of buying and selling of the church with Muhammad al-Fatih.

As for the second narration, Muhammad Al-Fateh ordered that the church be converted into a mosque without buying and selling, and that the conversion process took place in three days.

"The conqueror entered the Hagia Sophia and reassured the monks on their lives and their lives, and his mercy was unexpected for them. Upon entering, he announced one of his first decisions after the conquest of the city, which is the decision to transform the church into a mosque, and called it" the Great Mosque of Hagia Sophia. " [3]

And it is really controversial that the Muslims dealt with the church without sabotaging the pictures and drawings, as they were preserved with an article that did not affect the drawings for a period of 480 years. These drawings were made clear after the conversion of the mosque to a museum in the era of Ataturk as we will explain later.

  • Hagia Sophia has turned from a mosque into a museum

Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum by order of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1935 after 916 years of church function and as a mosque for 482 years.[4]

Building architecture

The church was built in a dome style, before turning into a mosque.

Hagia Sophia collected many architectural ideas at the time and is considered the "summit of Byzantine architecture"
  • Building analysis

The church was built in the Basilica style. It contains a front yard called the atrium. There are front and side halls when entering the main hall. We see before us the dome that is larger and is the largest dome in its era. The dome is covered from the inside with layers of bullets to protect it.

"The Hagia Sophia is the largest dome in the world in its era."

Hagia Sophia is distinguished by the presence of half domes on the sides of the main dome, and under these domes there are two continuous domes. The dome has opened 40 windows in its base and its mission is to reduce the weight of the dome on the building.

It is also characterized by the presence of huge stents underneath to reduce the pressure caused by domes.

  • Arts in Hagia Sophia

.The Roman Empire did not provide an effort to decorate one of the largest churches in the Byzantine era. The building was decorated with mosaics and marble slabs.

In the Ottoman era, when Muhammad Al-Fateh entered Constantinople (Istanbul), he covered the scenes with gypsum and wax materials, and painted geometric motifs and verses from the Qur'an in Arabic script.

Hagia Sophia mosaic
  • Hagia Sophia as a mosque

After the conversion of Hagia Sophia from a church to a mosque during the Ottoman Empire, four minarets were built with a pointed head resembling a pencil.

Due to the incompatibility of the Ottoman architecture with the Byzantine architecture, the minaret was added and the drawings inside the building were covered.

P.S.- Ezgi Turk native and Motasem the Architecture Expert

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[1] The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, ( Mar 19, 2020) , “Hagia Sophia”, Retrieved:(12/7/2020)

[2] Editors,(January 12, 2018),”Hagia Sophia”,A&E Television Networks


[3] The historian Ronseman Stephen,” The Fall of Constantinople”, p. 149,

[4]ALTINTOP, B. (2019, Kasım 29). what is Hagia Sophia? History of Hagia Sophia. Lesson:History: adresinden alındı