On November 24th, 1934, President Atatürk declared with a brilliant decree that the Grand Mosque of Istanbul, the former Hagia Sophia of the Byzantine capital, should neither be returned to the Christians as a cult building, nor should it be left to the Muslims as a cult place; as the Muslims after the conquest of Constantinople had used the Hagia Sophia since 1453 for their cult. According to Atatürk, this edifice should be transformed into a museum as an admirable testimony of human creativity in which all parties could learn to appreciate what the other cultures have produced. Because museology with the knowledge and experience of archaeologists and cultural scientists paved the path to learn and love the achievements of all cultures and religions, of all sciences and arts, precisely in the museum better than in any other context. As museums are like the universities, archives and the international organizations schools of civilization. They represent universal, all-human aspects of regional cultures and religions which, like Umma and Katholikos, mean only the unity of the faithful, but not the unity of mankind.
TRANSLATION: Christian EGGER