Hagia Sophia, Istanbul: the significant monument draws controversy again... Turkish prez. announces transformation once more (this time a mosque)

Image credit: Hürriyet Daily News
Hagia Sophia's identity is gonna change once again. As per the latest news the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that the historical, as well as a controversial monument the Hagia Sophia, will be turned into a mosque. 

This announcement is made by the Turkish president ahead of the 2019 Turkish local elections. The timing of this sought of the announcement is questioned, as it's made ahead of the elections.

Although the Turkish president has made it clear that the discussions regarding the transformation will be discussed only after the election.

It's presently a museum since 1934. Being one of the top tourist attractions all around the world, it has completed 1482 years since it's first built in 537.

The city Istanbul in which it's located has a history. Since its establishment, it was conquered, re-conquered, demolished and reconstructed several times.

So from 537 till now, the Hagia Sophia has been suffered from various attacks, earthquakes, conquers, etc which had led to its re-construction several times.

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  • Firstly built in the 4th century as Megale Ekklesia (the great church)
  • In some years it had struck fire and was restored. In 532 it was burned in Nika Riots.
  • Further, it was rebuilt in 537 by Justinian I.
  • In further 20 years, it had struck earthquakes two times.
  • Was also looted in Latin occupation.
  • It suffered Ottoman's attack in 1453. They almost damaged the church and renovated it naming the new imperial mosque. The four minarets were built during that renovation by SultanMehmed.
  • In 1935, the Ottoman Empire collapsed. The Republic of Turkey was founded by Turkish revolutionary Kemal Ataturk.
  • He became the first Turkish president. Following the secular path, in 1935 he announced Hagia Sophia as a museum which was a mosque at that time.

Since then both Christians and Muslims have locked their horns to get their holy place back. Presently it is a UNESCO world heritage site and visited by around 3.47 million people annually.

Image credit: Istanbul Clues

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