Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday ordered another ancient Orthodox church to be turned back into a mosque. The church earlier became a mosque and then a popular Istanbul museum
Kariye Mosque – From church to a mosque
The 1,000-year-old building’s history closely mirrors that of the Hagia Sophia — its bigger neighbor on the historic western bank of the Golden Horn estuary on the European side of Istanbul.
The Holy Saviour in Chora was a medieval Byzantine church decorated with 14th-century frescoes of the Last Judgement that remain treasured in the Christian world.
It was originally converted into the Kariye Mosque. This happened half a century after the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks.
It became the Kariye Museum after World War II. Turkey pushed ahead with the creation of a more secular new republic out of the ashes of the Ottoman Empire.
Meanwhile, a group of American art historians then helped rebuild the original church’s mosaics. They opened them up for public display in 1958.
However, Turkish President Erdogan is placing a political emphasis on the battles that resulted in the defeat of Byzantium by the Ottomans.
The sandy-colored structure visible today replaced one created as part of a monastery in the fourth century. It was the time when Constantinople was the new capital of the Roman Empire. It features a minaret in one corner and small cascading domes similar to those of other grand mosques in Istanbul. But inside it is filled with beautiful frescoes and mosaics that represent some of the finest examples of Byzantine art in the Christian world.
The decision by President Erdogan to transform the Kariye Museum Church into a mosque. This came a month after the conversion for the Unesco World Heritage-recognised Hagia Sophia.
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