Project to ease culture visits for the disabled
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
The project, which will begin with the Hagia Sophia Museum, aims to make important historical and touristic centers in the city more accessible for the disabled. Hürriyet photoIstanbul’s Hagia Sophia Museum is implementing a project called “Unobstructed Museums and Palaces” initiated by the Spinal Cord Paralytics Association of Turkey (TOFD) in 2010. The project aims to make important historical and touristic centers in the city more accessible for the disabled. After the Hagia Sophia, six museums and palaces will also be made easily accessible.
The first step of the project was recently taken after the Culture Ministry issued a decision to make the Hagia Sophia Museum accessible and the Council of Monuments was charged with the project.
Besides the Hagia Sophia, other museums and palaces that the project includes are the Archeological Museum, Topkapı Palace Museum, Turkish and Islamic Art Museum, Islamic Science and Technology Museum, Yıldız Palace Museum and Rumeli Hisari fortress.
The existing restrooms and platforms will be standardized for disabled people through the project. The head of TOFD, Ramazan Baş, said “We have been working on the project for two years. We have prepared it to make historical venues available for disabled citizens. And we presented the project to the Culture Ministry and the Council of Monuments. The first step is going to be taken at the Hagia Sophia Museum.”
Noting that Athens’ Acropolis, which is 152 meters in height, has an accessible lift for disabled visitors, Baş said, “In our structures, the basic elements to be corrected are the restrooms and platforms.
These are really easy impediments to overcome. Disabled tourism has a big place in the world, and this project will be an added value for Istanbul.”
Noting that they are planning to make a documentary film at the end of the project, Baş said, “We aim to present some contributions to the lives of disabled people with this project. This project, with the help of the Culture Ministry, will be a good opportunity for both disabled people and tourism.”