Initially a Greek Orthodox basilica, then an Ottoman imperial mosque, now the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul is a museum/cat house. Indeed, the gorgeous piece of architecture is the home of a cat named Gli. She is a European shorthair with slightly-crossed eyes, and she’s been living inside the Hagia Sophia for nearly 14 years. Naturally, she’s become popular with the museum’s visitors.
“She really, really likes to pose,” tour guide Umut Bahçeci, who runs Gli’s official Instagram account, told Lonely Planet. “If she wants to interact with people she will stand under the Muezzins’ lodge, but if she is [too] tired to be hugged she will sit down in the middle of the omphalos.” The omphalos is a roped-off area where Byzantine emperors used to be crowned.
If you absolutely must interact with Gli on your visit to Hagia Sophia, you should take note of her seasonal movements. Her favorite spot changes depending on the weather. “In winter she loves standing right in front of the projector light,” says Bahçeci. The projector illuminates the altar and the pulpit, but during the summer you can find her resting on the floor, in the patches of light streaming through the windows.
While Gli’s sister Kizim also lives inside the Hagia Sophia, Gli definitely steals the spotlight. She even met Barack Obama during one of his official visits. You can follow the adventures of Gli on her Instagram account, as long as you don’t mind that a cat has more followers than you.
H/T: Lonely Planet