Frescoes at the Arap Mosque reveal Renaissance secrets

Frescoes at the Arap Mosque reveal Renaissance secrets

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Frescoes at the Arap Mosque reveal Renaissance secrets

The 700 years old Arap Mosque in Galata was built as a church and later turned into a mosque. It is now a discussion topic because of the covered frescos. DAILY NEWS photo, Hasan ALTINIŞIK

The Arap Mosque, located in the Galata district of Istanbul, reveals secrets about the Renaissance era, daily Hürriyet reported.

According to an article in NTV Tarih magazine, the frescoes in the mosque reveal the earliest findings of the Renaissance era but are covered by plaster, Hürriyet said.

The Arap Mosque was built as a church and later turned into a mosque.

It was originally decorated with frescoes illustrating Christian stories. The magazine wrote the frescoes, dating from the Christian period in Istanbul, may tell another story about the Renaissance and reveal new information about this period. However, the magazine also wrote the frescoes were damaged during the 1999 earthquake in Istanbul, and it was decided during the restoration to restore the frescoes and then cover them with a material such as drywall. After covering them with drywall, the public continued to pray at the mosque for 11 years. In 2008, the mosque association decided the mosque should be restored. 

The building is 700 years old, and it has been decorated with frescoes for a nearly 1,000 years. However, the frescoes have been concealed by drywall material. During the restoration work in 2008, the team found the frescoes from the 14th century. The frescoes are very significant considering their antecedence to the Renaissance movement, which started in the 15th century. The emergence of the Renaissance or the secrets behind it may be hidden in those frescoes.

Society did not know about these potential discoveries because the frescoes were covered for 11 years. In 2008 the mosque association and scientists discussed what to do with the frescoes. Because it was used as a mosque, they decided in March to restore the frescoes and cover them with material. As a result the frescoes were once again plunged into darkness after 700 years. Experts have said the frescoes could be covered with a curtain, which could be opened for visitors. The frescoes are considered one of the most important discoveries in Istanbul.