The Hagia Sophia or Holy Wisdom (in Greek, Αγία Σοφία; pronounced [[email protected] sofia]) is the patriarchal basilica of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. Built between 532 and 537 on the order of the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian, it remained the largest church in the world for nearly a thousand years.
After the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453, Sultan Mehmed II ordered the church be converted into a mosque. It was known in Turkish as "Ayasofya".
Although Greece won its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1863, Constantinople and much of European Greece remained under Turkish control. It would not be until 1945 that Constantinople was liberated by Greek forces. After the war, a concerted effort to restore the church to its Byzantine glory was undertaken. Realising that a great historical monument was going to be so radically transformed, chief curator XYZ of the XYZ museum provided for the transfer of the Islamic relics into safe storage on Cyprus. In 1956, Holy Wisdom was reconsecrated by Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I.
Its official name is Ναός τῆς Ἁγίας τοῦ Θεοῦ Σοφίας: Church of the Holy Wisdom of God.