Culverts scanned in 3D in Hagia Sophia

Culverts scanned in 3D in Hagia Sophia

Özgür Hasan Altuncu- ISTANBUL
Culverts scanned in 3D in Hagia Sophia

The underground culverts of Hagia Sophia, which have been ventilating and keeping it alive, have been scanned in 3D for the first time since its construction in 1484.

The project, titled “3D Scanning and Documentation of Hagia Sophia Underground Structures,” was initiated when Hagia Sophia was a museum and has been carried out by Fatih Sultan Mehmet University and the Hagia Sophia Museum Directorate. 

“It is necessary to think of the tunnels as a vein. If they can be restored and re-functionalized, we will be able to allow the building to breathe,” said Hasan Fırat Diker, an associate professor at the Fatih Sultan Mehmet University Faculty of Architecture and Design. 

For the project, scientists recorded about 900 meters of underground culverts and structures that envelop Hagia Sopha like a spider web and protect it from humidity by ventilation.

“Hagia Sophia is a school for us. We learn something new every time we go. We took an x-Ray of Hagia Sophia in our work. Apart from the known culverts, we also managed to enter places that could not be entered before. We found new underground locations. The culverts need to be cleaned. By preventing blockages, the building will be able to breathe more easily. There will be no need for any air conditioning device,” Diker said. 

“Everyone will be able to see virtually what we see with the naked eye as a team. We will announce the results of the three-week study at the International Hagia Sophia Symposium to be held in Istanbul on Sept. 24 and 25,” he added. 

Diker, who worked as a control architect for six years in Hagia Sophia, also took part in the team that revealed an angel figure in Hagia Sophia during the restoration in 2009. He went down to the tunnels with his team on Mondays when Hagia Sophia was closed. The team included Associate Professor Mine Esmer, academic Alidost Ertuğrul and the Istanbul Technical University (İTÜ) Archaeology Department’s Ali Hakan Eğilmez. 

The university’s architecture students along with postgraduate students also joined the works.