Why was Hagia Sophia converted into a mosque?
Hagia Sophia, also known as the Ayasofya Mosque, is a former Eastern Orthodox cathedral in Istanbul, Turkey that was converted into a mosque in the 15th century.
Hagia Sophia was originally built as a cathedral in the 6th century during the Byzantine Empire. It was one of the largest and most important churches in the Eastern Orthodox world, and it served as the seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople. In 1204, Constantinople was captured by the crusaders during the Fourth Crusade, and the cathedral was converted into a Roman Catholic cathedral.
In 1261, the Byzantine Empire reconquered Constantinople, and Hagia Sophia was restored as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral. It remained a cathedral until the Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople in 1453. The Ottomans, who were Muslim, converted the cathedral into a mosque and added minarets, a mihrab (a niche indicating the direction of Mecca), and a minbar (a pulpit).
Hagia Sophia remained a mosque until 1935, when it was converted into a museum by the Republic of Turkey. In 2020, it was converted back into a mosque by the Turkish government. The decision to convert the museum back into a mosque was controversial, with some arguing that it should remain a museum to reflect its historical and cultural significance.