‘Imperial Gate’ in Hagia Sophia Mosque vandalized
Istanbul Provincial Directorate of Foundations has started an investigation to find out the unidentified assailant or assailants who have vandalized the 1,400-year-old Imperial Gate inside the Hagia Sophia Mosque in the metropolitan city.
Imperial Gate, also known as the Imperial Door, is one of the nine doors that opens to the main hall of the mosque. Used by emperors in the past, the door is specifically called the “Imperial Door.”
The unpleasant incident came to light after a photo showing the fragmented door was uploaded by the Association of Art Historians (SATAD) on its social media platforms. “The door must be taken under protection,” SATAD said in its post.
Hayrullah Çebi, the head of the provincial directorate of foundations, affirmed the assault and said, “A citizen has taken a piece of the door. We have started a probe.”Mahir Polat, tha deputy secretary general of the Istanbul Metropolis Municipality, said, “Those who did this will face jail term between two to five years.”
The Greek Foreign Ministry condemned the incident in a statement, saying, “Distressing and disgusting vandalism.”
Researcher Selçuk Arıcan pointed out that the incident happened after the structure was converted into a mosque recently.
“Earlier, the door was undamaged. After turning into a mosque, the structure faced a flow of visitors.”
Built in 537 as the largest Christian church of the eastern Roman Empire, Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque in 1453, after the conquest of Istanbul. The complex remained a mosque until 1935 when it was reopened after a four-year closureas a museum. In July 2020, the Council of State annulled the 1934 decision to establish the museum, and the Hagia Sophia was re-classified as a mosque.