Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid out a surprise stop by to Hagia Sophia just times just before the to start with Muslim prayers will be held at the Istanbul landmark given that it was reconverted to a mosque final 7 days.
In a speedy stop by billed as an inspection, Erdogan took inventory of the conversion perform, the president’s business office claimed on Sunday, furnishing photos demonstrating scaffolding within the creating.
The Diyanet, the country’s spiritual authority, reported Christian icons would be curtained off and unlit “by way of acceptable suggests throughout prayer periods”.
Authorities stated past week the mosaics would be concealed with possibly curtains or lasers when the initial prayers are held.
In an job interview with broadcaster NTV, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Sunday some mosaics of Mary and Gabriel that are positioned in the path of Qiblah, exactly where Muslims experience in the course of prayer, would be coated with curtains.
Turkey reconverts Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia museum into a mosque
He said other mosaics of Jesus and other Christian figures did not pose an impediment for Muslim prayers simply because they are not found in the way of Qiblah. But he did not say whether they would continue being uncovered at all periods.
Outside the house prayers, Hagia Sophia will be open up to all visitors and travellers and all mosaics will be uncovered, authorities have mentioned.
It was unclear no matter whether Erdogan planned to be amid some 500 worshippers set to go to Friday prayers.
Turkey’s top rated court docket paved the way for the conversion in a decision to revoke the edifice’s museum position conferred just about a century in the past.
The sixth-century building experienced been open up to all visitors, regardless of their faith, due to the fact its inauguration as a museum in 1935.
Earlier this week, the Diyanet mentioned the building would continue to be open up to all people exterior the hrs presented around to prayer.
The UNESCO Earth Heritage site was created as a cathedral all through the Byzantine empire but converted into a mosque just after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453.
It was specified a museum in a critical reform of the publish-Ottoman authorities below the present day republic’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
Erdogan reported previous year it had been a “pretty significant error” to convert the Hagia Sophia into a museum.
The reconversion sparked anger between Christians and tensions between historic foes and uneasy NATO allies Turkey and Greece.
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