Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid a shock visit to Hagia Sophia just days prior to the 1st Muslim prayers will be held at the Istanbul landmark considering the fact that it was reconverted to a mosque previous week.
In a quick go to billed as an inspection, Erdogan took stock of the conversion operate, the president’s place of work reported on Sunday, delivering photos exhibiting scaffolding inside of the making.
The Diyanet, the country’s religious authority, reported Christian icons would be curtained off and unlit “by means of acceptable means during prayer occasions”.
Authorities reported 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 route of Qiblah, wherever Muslims deal with 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 impediment for Muslim prayers due to the fact they are not found in the course of Qiblah. But he did not say whether or not they would keep on being uncovered at all periods.
Outdoors prayers, Hagia Sophia will be open up to all readers and travelers and all mosaics will be uncovered, authorities have claimed.
It was unclear whether Erdogan prepared to be among the some 500 worshippers established to go to Friday prayers.
Turkey’s prime court docket paved the way for the conversion in a selection to revoke the edifice’s museum status conferred virtually a century in the past.
The sixth-century building experienced been open up to all website visitors, regardless of their faith, because its inauguration as a museum in 1935.
Before this week, the Diyanet mentioned the building would continue to be open to all people exterior the hrs offered more than to prayer.
The UNESCO World Heritage site was designed as a cathedral throughout the Byzantine empire but transformed into a mosque right after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453.
It was selected a museum in a crucial reform of the write-up-Ottoman authorities underneath the modern-day republic’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
Erdogan claimed very last year it experienced been a “very big error” to change the Hagia Sophia into a museum.
The reconversion sparked anger among Christians and tensions amongst historic foes and uneasy NATO allies Turkey and Greece.