Three more angels appear in Hagia Sophia
Hürriyet: Istanbul | 7/26/2009 12:00:00 AM |
After the recent uncovering of an angel mosaic in Hagia Sophia, Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay said plans were set to reveal three more.
Following the recent uncovering of an angel mosaic in Hagia Sophia, Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay said plans were in place to uncover three more.
Hagia Sophia, built by the Byzantine emperor Justinian between 532 and 537 A.D., was originally a basilica before it was converted into a mosque when Ottoman Turks conquered the city in 1453. During the conversion process, the Ottomans covered the mosaics with plaster instead of removing them.
The building served as a mosque until 1934, when it was turned into a museum. The newly revealed angel mosaic measures 1.5 meters by 1 meter and is believed to date from sometime between 900 and 1300 A.D. It has been hidden behind plaster and a metal mask for the past 160 years.
“For the first time in my life, I am a part of an endeavor this exciting,” Günay said at a press conference he held at Hagia Sophia, where he added that three more similar mosaics will be uncovered in the future.
“This endeavor made at the northeast quarter of the dome is a very important one for Hagia Sophia and, I believe, for Christian theology,” Günay added. The angel mosaic’s true age will be assessed after an analysis by the Hagia Sofia Science Board compares it to similar mosaics. Its six-winged figure depicts the seraphim, an angel described in the biblical book of Isaiah.
“The last ones to see those [the mosaics] were Sultan Abdülmecid and Fossati the architect. Today, after 160 years, we will announce them to the world. We will let people who visit Istanbul, the 2010 European Capital of Culture, witness them too.”
The minister said he hopes to learn all about Hagia Sophia, preserve the important building and promote it to the world.