Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid out a surprise go to to Hagia Sophia just times in advance of the initial Muslim prayers will be held at the Istanbul landmark since it was reconverted to a mosque final week.
In a rapid take a look at billed as an inspection, Erdogan took stock of the conversion work, the president’s workplace said on Sunday, furnishing visuals showing scaffolding inside of the setting up.
The Diyanet, the country’s religious authority, explained Christian icons would be curtained off and unlit “by appropriate implies through prayer occasions”.
Authorities stated final 7 days the mosaics would be concealed with both curtains or lasers when the very first prayers are held.
In an interview with broadcaster NTV, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin claimed on Sunday some mosaics of Mary and Gabriel that are positioned in the course of Qiblah, in which Muslims face during prayer, would be included with curtains.
Turkey reconverts Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia museum into a mosque
He stated other mosaics of Jesus and other Christian figures did not pose an obstacle for Muslim prayers simply because they are not positioned in the direction of Qiblah. But he did not say no matter whether they would stay uncovered at all instances.
Outside the house prayers, Hagia Sophia will be open up to all people and travellers and all mosaics will be uncovered, authorities have claimed.
It was unclear regardless of whether Erdogan prepared to be amid some 500 worshippers set to show up at Friday prayers.
Turkey’s top rated court docket paved the way for the conversion in a choice to revoke the edifice’s museum status conferred just about a century in the past.
The sixth-century developing experienced been open up to all site visitors, no matter of their religion, since its inauguration as a museum in 1935.
Before this 7 days, the Diyanet explained the creating would proceed to be open to all visitors exterior the several hours offered around to prayer.
The UNESCO Entire world Heritage site was designed as a cathedral through the Byzantine empire but transformed into a mosque immediately after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453.
It was designated a museum in a crucial reform of the put up-Ottoman authorities below the fashionable republic’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
Erdogan mentioned final calendar year it had been a “incredibly significant mistake” to change the Hagia Sophia into a museum.
The reconversion sparked anger among the Christians and tensions concerning historic foes and uneasy NATO allies Turkey and Greece.