Experts at Turkey’s Culture Ministry lab restoring 452 historic Byzantine church icons

Experts at Turkey’s Culture Ministry lab restoring 452 historic Byzantine church icons

ISTANBUL - Anadolu Agency
Experts at Turkey’s Culture Ministry lab restoring 452 historic Byzantine church icons

Experts at the Culture Ministry’s restoration laboratory are currently restoring 452 pieces of historical Byzantine church icons, dating back to the 7th century.

The laboratory in Istanbul works on objects from across the country and kept in the historic Hagia Sophia, a Christian church until it was converted into a mosque when the Ottomans conquered Istanbul in 1453. It was later turned into a museum in 1935.

The mainly wooden Byzantine icons under restoration depict religious rituals and stories as well as images of Jesus Christ.

Ali Osman Avşar, a manager at the laboratory, told state-run Anadolu Agency that they were working with the help of Prof. Dr. Sema Doğan, an art historian from the Ankara based-Hacettepe University.

“It is a very important project for us. These icons are historical assets. We need to protect them. So far 45 icons have been restored,” Avşar said.

“We want to exhibit [the icons] in a museum, which will be opened after we finish the restoration because there is not enough space to display in Hagia Sophia,” he added.

Two Italian icon restoration experts, Prof. Lorenzo Casametti and Rafaella Greca, recently came to Turkey for workshops on how to protect items without disturbing their original shape.

A Turkish restorer, Gülseren Dikilitaş, also visited the Istituto Lorenzo de Medici in Florence and the National University of Arts in Bucharest as part of the project.

Byzantine, historic artifact, culture, culture ministry, Hagia Sophia, history, cultural preservation, heritage, heritage site