Architecture as Symbol and Self-Identity by Jonathan G. Katz (Editor)

By Jonathan G. Katz (Editor)

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All we can do is somehow give some pointers, things which one may have missed somehow or not thought about. This brings to mind an experience I had in the Alhambra. There are all those wonderful inscriptions from the Koran and poetry, but somewhere low in a corner there is one that is very small. I do not know whether art historians have looked at it or not. It is not really very decorative. " Now I suggest that this is another thing for the Jury to consider. Was something a work of love, or was it for glory?

This act inaugurated a series of changes whereby an architectural masterpiece of the sixth century was made into a mosque. Of course, twentieth-century Turkish culture has relegated the Hagia Sophia to museum status, but our concern is with the five hundred years of its Muslim usage. In the interior of the Hagia Sophia the altar and all liturgical objects of worship were removed; all biblical figures, such as the mosaics depicting the Virgin and Child and St. John the Baptist were covered in plaster; the faces of two seraphim and two cherubim in the four pendentives of the dome were transfigured by gilded stars, and most notably, the image of Christ in the dome was replaced by a sunburst medallion enriched with the Sura of Light.

We have to abandon this intellectual arrogance. Until this article nobody among us ever knew what was the significance of this building. Certainly millions of people never understood this symbolism. So let's get down to the community level. Ninety-nine percent of the people never read anything from the Koran or anything else. This kind of symbolism never existed for the whole community. That is why, especially today, it is much better not to discusss these kinds of things. Go to the level of the Comments community, to the common people, in order to make it useful for others.

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