Turkey on Friday ordered the Hagia Sophia, one of Istanbul’s most famous landmarks from the 6th century, to be converted back into a mosque. The announcement by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan allows the building, which was built by the Byzantines in the sixth century, to be a functional place of worship once again. It was converted to a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453 but was turned into a museum in 1934 and is widely regarded as a symbol of peaceful religious coexistence.
The announcement invalidated the 1934 degree and listed the Hagia Sophia as a mosque in its title deed that cannot be changed. Turkey's top court also annulled the museum’s status, ruling that the settlement deed “allocated it as a mosque and its use outside this character is not possible legally.”