Turkey Muslim Activists Petition To Pray At Istanbul's Hagia Sophia

Muslim activists in Turkey have petitioned the government for permission to use the Hagia Sophia as an Islamic place of prayer.

The Young People of Anatolia, a religious group announced that they will begin holding prayer services directly outside the Hagia Sophia each Friday.

Hagia Sophia literally mean "Holy Wisdom" was first dedicated in 360 by Emperor Constantius, son of Emperor Constantine as a Christian church.

Hagia Sophia served as the cathedra, or bishop's seat, of the city of Constantinople (now Istanbul).

It was converted to a mosque by the Ottoman regime in 1453 after Mehmed II's conquest of the city and remained as a mosque until 1935.

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Hagia Sophia Behind Six Minaret Blue Mosque
During the Ottoman period, minarets were built around the perimeter of the building complex, Christian mosaic icons were covered with whitewash, and exterior buttresses were added for structural support.

In 1934, the Turkish government secularized the building, converting it into a museum, and the original mosaics were restored.

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