Hagia Sophia and UNESCO World Heritage

Hagia Sophia © David Gill

The historic area of Istanbul was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985. One of the finest structures in this part of the city is the 6th century church of Hagia Sophia that was turned into a mosque following the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Under Kemal Atatürk the building was turned into a museum emphasising the secular nature of the republic.

It is now proposed to turn the structure back into a mosque (“Hagia Sophia: Turkey delays decision on turning site into mosque“, BBC News 2 July 2020). The topic has been widely discussed in Greece (e.g. “Museum or mosque? Turkey debates iconic Hagia Sophia’s status“, ekathimerini.com 1 July 2020). France has now added its voice to the debate (e.g. “France says Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia must remain open to all“, ekathimerini.com 2 July 2020).

Clyde heritage on the Bosphorus

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Sarayburnu on the Bosphorus © David Gill

The Sarayburnu was used on the Bosphorus route until 1984 when she was withdrawn from service. She was built by Fairfield in Govan, and launched in 1910. She was originally owned by the Bosphorus Steam Navigation Company, and took the name Sarayburnu in 1952 when she was taken over by Denizcilik Banasi T.A.O.