Trabzon’s Church of Saint Sophia, now the Saint Sophia Museum, is expected to become a mosque. Adnan Ertem, Chairman of the Board at Vakif Emeklilik, General Directorate of Foundations, stated: “There is no obstacle for Hagia Sophia in Trabzon to open its gates as a mosque, something that will happen within the next days.”
He said, “We aim at doing the same with Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, but this is not in our hands. The government has to decide for this. This is the responsibility of the government.”
Hagia Sophia was built in Trebizond during the reign of Manuel I between 1238 and 1263. After Mehmed II conquered the city in 1461 the church was converted into a mosque and its frescoes covered in whitewash.
During World War I and for a brief period afterward, the city was occupied by the Russian military and as a makeshift hospital and depot. Afterward it was put back into use as a mosque, until 1964 when it was turned into a museum – which it remains to this day. From 1958 to 1964 the frescoes were uncovered and the church consolidated with the help of experts from Edinburgh University and the General Directorate of Foundations.