Built in the 6th century, Turkey’s Hagia Sophia has undergone several changes. It was originally constructed as an orthodox basilica, then turned into an imperial mosque, and now, the museum that it is today. Throughout the years, the edifice has been home to various religions, cultures, and relics. But this monument in the heart of Istanbul also serves as a home to a famous cat named Gli, who has captured the hearts of many tourists and locals alike.

Gli is one of the several felines residing in Hagia Sophia. She is a gray tabby cat with green crossed eyes. Gli rose to fame when her pictures with world leaders Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. President Barack Obama petting her made it to the headlines in 2009.

A tour guide named Umut Bahceci made an Instagram account dedicated to Gli’s daily life at the museum. The description on her bio reads: “My land is Hagia Sophia. I’m a celebrity cat. They call me Union of Love. You can tag my beautiful pics.” It has over 80,000 followers and 600 posts as of July 2020. Tourists enjoy taking their pictures with Gli and tagging her on Instagram. “I started noticing Gli every time I went (to Hagia Sophia) because Gli was posing for people like a model. I get messages such as, ‘Gli, we will come to Istanbul to see you.’ This is truly a very nice feeling”, Umut recounts messages from visitors.

But just recently, Turkey Prime Minister Erdogan ordered to classify the museum back into a mosque. While this is momentous for people looking forward to pray in a historic building, this decision left people wondering if Gli and the rest of the cats could still reside in Hagia Sophia. Since then, questions continued to pop up in local newspapers and social media. Will Gli have to leave her home?

Thankfully, Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told the media that all the cats in the area need not to move out. “That cat has become very famous, and there are others who haven’t become that famous yet. That cat will be there, and all cats are welcome to our mosques”, Kalin stated. Gli and the rest of the felines can continue to live in Hagia Sophia where they were born. Her fans will surely be delighted!