The fate of Hagia Sophia: a unique Museum can make inaccessible to tourists

the Future of the temple, which is almost fifteen hundred years, they decided in 17 minutes — one of the masterpieces of Church architecture, Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, may change the status of the Museum of Christianity in a mosque. The Supreme court of Turkey gave the final word to President Erdogan — the official decision will manifest in the next two weeks.

the Fateful decision of the state Council of Turkey were waiting in the world, however, to announce the official results of the meeting in Istanbul decided later — in the next two weeks. If the Museum still will be a mosque, the first prayer in it could take place on July 15. The world cultural community is strongly against changing the status of a world cultural heritage site by UNESCO.

“This is a sharp deterioration of cultural dialogue and cultural existence in the world. If a cult establishment became a Museum, it should remain a Museum. The Museum allows a multiplicity of voices”, — expressed his opinion the Director of the State Hermitage Mikhail Piotrovsky.

the Transformation of Museum into a mosque, Turkey’s ruling party “Justice and development” has long made one of the main political slogans. Thus its leader Erdogan is trying to consolidate a faithful electorate. At today’s event, Turkish Newspapers responded with headlines in which the status of a temple is called a question of sovereignty.

Deep concern about the possible change of status of the Museum expressed the Russian historical society:

— the Russian historical society refers to the Turkish counterparts urging them to take a holistic approach to questions about the status of the Museum.

Built in the 6th century under the Emperor Justinian, more than a Millennium of Greek masterpiece was the largest temple of the Christian world. The Rus Princess Olga, grandmother of Prince Vladimir received Holy baptism, and the Prince to baptize Russia convinced the grandeur of the temple service. Pilgrims from Russia, who visited the service, talked to Prince Vladimir: "We didn’t know where he had been on the ground or in the sky.”

After the conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed II, the Christian Church was turned into a mosque, has attached to it the minarets, but the founder of secular Turkey, Kemal Ataturk, in 1934, declared Sophia as a Museum and opened painted murals.

When, in 1967 Pope Paul VI tried to kneel and pray at this place, the Prime Minister of Turkey prevented him to do, saying: “this is not a temple and not a mosque. No religious ceremony.”

But the dreams of conservatives about his neo-Ottoman vision of the Empire is rapidly changing the modern political context. Sofia, which for decades provided the same safety of Christian and Islamic Holy places, apparently, now needed only as a historical symbol of the Ottoman conquest.

Many countries, including Russia, Greece and the United States have made a plea to save Sofia the status of a Museum.

“We really should hope that the status of Hagia Sophia as the monument of UNESCO is still committed to negotiate with the Turkish authorities, if you are using the monument he’s not very injured,” said doctor of arts Olga Etingof.

the Policy of the Turkish authorities, according to observers, could provoke tension similar to what often happens on the Temple mount in Jerusalem. For millions of tourists a unique and one of the most visited museums in the world now, and all may be unavailable.