Hagia Sophia Mosque to be restored in Turkey’s Trabzon
AA photoThe Hagia Sophia Mosque, which was opened to worship in 2013 after serving as a museum for 52 years, will be restored in the Black Sea province of Trabzon, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
As part of the restoration, a shielding system which is used to cover mural paintings will be removed but an electronic system will be placed in front of the walls to cover Byzantine-era Christian paintings at worship times.
The restoration process, which is expected to cost 2 million Turkish Liras, will start sometime this year.
The provincial director of foundations in Trabzon, İsmet Çalık, said the mosque, which was renamed Trabzon Center Mosque after opening for worship, was one of the most touristic places in the province.
“When we push the button, all mural paintings will become opaque … Thus, people will be able to worship without any influence from paintings,” he said.
Çalık also said the mosque would be restored to its original form.
“We aim to keep this mosque open during the restoration process. Closing the mosque to visits [upset us]. So it will partially remain open,” he said, noting how the province’s Sümela Monastery had been closed for restoration.
Hagia Sophia was built in Trabzon during the reign of Manuel I between 1238 and 1263. After Mehmed II conquered the city in 1461, the church was likely converted into a mosque and its frescos were covered in whitewash.