Hagia Sophia as a mosque


Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles (architects), Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, 532-37

This video focuses on Hagia Sophia after the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottomans in 1453.


Additional resource:

Hagia Sophia 3D virtual tour

Smarthistory’s free Guide to Byzantine Art e-book



For the classroom

Questions for study or discussion

Thinking about context

  • What circumstances prompted the conversion of Hagia Sophia to a mosque?
  • Why might the Ottomans have converted Hagia Sophia into a mosque?

Thinking about this monument

  • What concrete steps were taken to convert Hagia Sophia to a mosque?
  • How did the functions of Hagia Sophia change or stay the same when it was converted to a mosque?

Thinking about images and text

  • Why did the Ottomans cover the Byzantine mosaics inside Hagia Sophia?
  • What new roles did text play in the Ottoman redecoration of Hagia Sophia?

Thinking about art history

  • What do art historians mean when they speak about the “afterlife” of an artwork or monument?
  • How does Hagia Sophia illustrate the exchange of artistic traditions across cultures?

Smarthistory images for teaching and learning:

More Smarthistory images…

Cite this page as: Dr. Elizabeth Macaulay and Dr. Steven Zucker, "Hagia Sophia as a mosque," in Smarthistory, December 15, 2015, accessed November 29, 2021, https://smarthistory.org/hagia-sophia-as-a-mosque/.