|Photo by co-worker "Horsegauze"|
As a mosque Hagia Sophia served as the religious capitol of the empire and main mosque of the emperor-caliph. It lasted as a mosque for over 450 years until the fall of the Ottoman Empire and its replacement with the secular national socialist Republic of Turkey. The government turned the mosque into a museum which it remains today.
Inside one can see Islamic surrounded by Christian mosaics. The area with in the far background has a Christian altar table with altar candles in front of a Islamic mihrab. This dichotomy is an excellent physical example of east meeting west in Istanbul, Turkey which itself is divided in two between a western bank in Europe and an eastern bank in Asia.
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