HAGIA SOPHIA: In 1935 Ataturk converted the church into a museum and work has continued for decades to restore the interior decoration. Many of the church's riches had been carried off by the Venetians in the infamous Fourth Crusade, and the mosaics and paintings offensive to Muslim belief were plastered over. The Venetians still keep their spoils, but the Turks have largely restored the covered decorations. The large round shields are part of the Muslim history of the building, bearing Arabic inscriptions with the names of God, Muhammad, and other important figures in the early history of Islam. The structures below also date from the Ottoman era.