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Demosthenes's avatar

Should the Hagia Sophia be converted back into a mosque?

Asked by Demosthenes (9733points) 2 weeks ago

The Hagia Sophia, completed in the year 537, was originally a Christian church. It became a mosque when Constantinople was conquered by the Turks (becoming Istanbul) in the 15th century. In the early 20th century, it was turned into a museum by post-Ottoman Turkey’s secular government.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s current leader, often labeled an autocrat and an Islamist, plans to turn the Hagia Sophia back into a mosque. There’s been outcry from the rest of the world. Is this a “return to roots” or, as the Washington Post called it, “cultural cleansing”? Have you ever been to the Hagia Sophia? I visited it with my family in 2013.

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2 Answers

raum's avatar

Neither?

If it were a “return to roots”, it would have been turned back into a Christian cathedral.

I think it was a “cultural cleansing” when they turned it from a cathedral into a mosque. And again when they turned it from a mosque into a museum.

Unless modern secular museum-goers counts as a culture?

stanleybmanly's avatar

Erdogan is dead set on undoing the single factor responsible for Turkey’s exceptional spectacular success among nations of Muslim extraction. For it is Ataturk’s rigid requirement of a strictly secular government that allowed Turkey to survive and prosper as a modern state. Justinian’s church is without question the premier surviving edifice from human antiquity. It is the engineering feat at the very pinnacle of culmination of applied knowledge for the classical period, the product of the 2 great teaching mathematicians— academics Anthemius of Tralles and Isidorus of Melitus. The story of its construction alone justifies a course in the much neglected history of Byzantium. It’s too bad that Erdogan lacks the sagely vision of both Ataturk and the 21 year old Mehmed II who put an end to Byzantium with his cannonade of the walls of Constantinople. The kid had the sense to recognize the structure for the magnificent treasure it is. Like wisdom itself, sense appears to be a product for a bygone age

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