Photo. Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey - Built by supernatural power?
From church to mosque to museum to mosque again, Istanbul’s 1,500-year-old wonder continues to be one of the world’s most significant cultural landmarks. Hagia Sophia is full of secrets as healing powers, mysterious mosaics and Holy Relics. This wonder of the world has a very long history. It has survived earthquakes, religious power struggles, and has been a church (basilica), a mosque and is now a museum. It is known as the Ayasofya in Turkish, and was dedicated to the Wisdom of God, the Logos.
There were once two more churches that were regarded as “Churches of Divine Wisdom”, but the Hagia Sophia is the last that remains. but by the influence of God that this church has been so wonderfully built. How excellent astronomical and optical considerations closely associated with the phenomenon of light and vision! It gives peace and clarity radiating healing and love energy. Built by supernatural powers?
The Hagia Sophia is one of the world’s architectural marvels, overlooking the Bosporus in Istanbul. Dominating Istanbul’s skyline, Hagia Sophia sits in the centre of the Sultanahmet District, near the Blue Mosque and a short walk from the Topkapi Palace. The Hagia Sophia that stands today was built in the sixth century as the cathedral for the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire - also called the Byzantine Empire, and it became a mosque in 1453 with the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. It remained a Muslim house of worship until 1934, when the Turkish government turned it into a museum. More than 50 years later, UNESCO included Hagia Sophia as part of its Historic Areas of Istanbul World Heritage Site.
The amazing building, as a museum, symbolized the coexistence of Christianity and Islam, a cultural junction between East and West. At the time of its original construction, as tour guides will tell you, people believed that the church was so magnificent that it must have had divine guidance to aid in its crafting.
Today everybody could admire all mosaics inside, except during worship. Then the building will close an hour before the prayer time and reopen half an hour after. Muslims perform today prayer at Hagia Sophia Mosque after it was reopened for worship for the first time in nearly hundred years.
“With this court ruling, and with the measures we took in line with the decision, Hagia Sophia became a mosque again, after 86 years, in the way Fatih the conqueror of Istanbul had wanted it to be,” Erdogan said in a national address.
In July 2020 the president Tayyip Erdogan declared Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia a mosque with the first Muslim prayers to begin in two weeks. This was after a top court ruled the ancient building’s conversion to a museum by modern Turkey’s founding statesman was illegal (source: Reuters). The United States, Russia and church leaders were among those to express concern about changing the status of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, a focal point of both the Christian Byzantine and Muslim Ottoman empires, and now one of the most visited monuments in Turkey. Greece’s culture ministry described the court decision as an “open provocation” to the civilized world, while UNESCO said it regretted it was not notified ahead of time and would now review the building’s status. Several days later, Hagia Sophia held its first prayers inside, and Turkey’s president announced that the mosque would continue to be open to all visitors, regardless of faith or nationality.
Islam praying, especially in the evening in Istanbul, was an extraordinary adventure. According to the tradition, the imam climbs to the top of a minaret to call the faithful to prayer. From several corner of the city, I heard the call to prayer amplified by loudspeakers. Five times a day throughout the streets of Istanbul I heard the dramatic call to prayer, also known as ezan. The singing from every angel in the city created a chaotic concert. I wonder who had the tallest voice? I also experienced Istanbul’s call to prayer from inside the Blue Mosque. It was really loud, and when people heard the sound, they rushed the mosques, fell down on their knees for a short while, praying and returned to back to their business.
Stein Morten Lund, 25th May 2023
Hagia Sofia Mosque
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