In May is my dad’s birthday, and I usually think of two things when it comes to May. The first is the western movie “Tombstone”; and the second being Turkey. (Well, maybe the third would be pot roast – my dad can make a mean pot roast!)
When I was studying abroad in Turkey, my dad made the trip out there and stayed with me for roughly a week. We went to many sights around the grand city of Istanbul. The one sight that really stuck out to my dad was the Hagia Sophia. This marvel of engineering was built almost 1500 years ago – and it is still standing in one piece to this day!
The city of Istanbul is constantly being rocked by earthquakes, yet this monument has stood strong (for the most part) against them. Not only earthquakes threatened its destruction, but also invading armies desired to destroy it. In the end, whenever a new army came into the city and claimed Istanbul as their own, the Hagia Sophia would then be converted to suit the needs of the new population. It began as a church, the transformed into a mosque, then back into a church, then back into a mosque – you get the picture.
Today, the Hagia Sophia is a museum that is open for everyone. It stands not only as a demonstration of the engineering capabilities of the past, but, oddly enough, as a sign of cooperation and coexistence. A sign of remembering the past and learning from it.