Hagia Sophia in İznik: Historical Church Turned Mosque

The Hagia Sophia at Nicaea, located in modern-day Iznik, Turkey, is a historical part of Byzantine-era history.

Originally built as a church, Hagia Sophia was constructed in the middle of the city in the 6th century and was modeled after the larger church, Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, modern-day Istanbul.

The church holds a special place in history as it was the site of the Second Council of Nicaea in 787 where the first period of Byzantine Iconoclasm can to an end and frescos and icons were once again allowed in holy places of worship.

The structure of Hagia Sophia has undergone much structural change throughout the centuries from natural and manmade disasters as well as religious and political ruling parties.

It has served as a temple when a timber-roofed basilica with a central nave and side aisles was built over the structure during the Eastern Roman Empire in the 7th century.

In the 11th century it is believed that an earthquake brought down most of the structure, causing it to have considerable changes to its architectural structure including the naves and columns.

It was converted into a mosque after the city fell to the Ottoman Empire in 1337, which it remained until 1935 when it was turned into a museum. In 2012 it was announced that Hagia Sophia had reopened after a period of renovations. The floors had been covered with carpet and the structure had once again been converted into a mosque, which it remains until today.