The monument that served as the centre of Christianity for 900 years and as a mosque for 500, holds a strong symbolic importance for the nation
“Bowing down to the ground, he poured a handful of dust over his turban as an act of humility to God. Then he stepped inside the wrecked church… As he walked across the great space and stared up at the dome, he caught sight of a soldier smashing away at the marble pavement. He asked the man why he was demolishing the floor. For the ‘Faith’, the man replied. Infuriated by this visible defiance of his orders to preserve the buildings, Mehmet struck the man with his sword. He was dragged off half-dead by Mehmet’s attendants.”
This is how Roger Crowley describes in his book, Constantinople: The Last Great Siege 1453, Mehmet the Conqueror’s first encounter of Hagia Sophia, or Ayasofya in Turkish.
It’s more than 500 years after the Sultan victoriously entered Constantinople, today’s Istanbul, yet it’s the same idea of “Faith” that is being presented as a pretext to wreck the legacy of the 6th century Byzantine structure as a museum.