IMAGE PROFESSIONALS GMBH / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
Overlooking the Bosphorus, the Hagia Sophia (which means “Holy Wisdom” in Greek) sits across from the Blue Mosque and Sultanahmet Square in the historic center of Istanbul. The Hagia Sophia has served many communities since its original construction. It was first built in 360 by the emperor Constantius II and then rebuilt, after two burnings, in 415 and 537. The last rebuilding by the emperor Justinian I left the church with its current form. After the fall of the Byzantine Empire, the church was transformed into a mosque, with minarets added during the 15th and 16th centuries. It remained a place of worship until 1935 when it became a museum. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985. Then, in 2020, it was converted back into a mosque.