Istanbul: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ordered to convert another ancient Orthodox Church that was turned into a mosque, then into a museum, to be turned back into a Muslim place of worship.
The decision to transform the Kariye Museum, formerly Chora Church, into a mosque came just a month after a controversial conversion of UNESCO World Heritage-recognised Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
The 1,000-year-old Chora Church’s history closely mirrors that of the Hagia Sophia.
History of Chora Church
The Chora Church was built by the Byzantine emperor Justinian I in 4th-century, who had also built the iconic church Hagia Sophia. The building, which was constructed as a monastery during the Byzantine period, was converted by the Ottomans into a mosque in 1511.
The Chora Church, after serving as a mosque for 434 years was converted into a museum by a Council of Minister’s decree in 1945 after the Republic of Turkey was established in 1923. The church is registered as a UNESCO heritage site.
A group of American art historians then helped restore the original church’s mosaics and opened them up for public display in 1958.
Turkey’s top administrative court, had on December 2019, approved the museum’s conversion into a mosque.