Experts assessed possible damage from the conversion of Hagia Sophia to a mosque :: Society :: RBC

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Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

(Фото: Chris McGrath / Getty Images)

It will be impossible to completely remove and transfer to the museums the mosaics and murals of Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia Cathedral if it turns into a mosque, and the loss of the monument in its current form will be a big loss for humanity. This was stated by RBC the chief architect of the state enterprise “Central Scientific and Restoration Design Workshops”, the architect-restorer of the highest category Sergey Kulikov.

“Images that have in themselves some images of an ornamental nature cannot be in the sacred space of a mosque. I don’t know how it will be realized, how it will affect the monument, its artistic value, ”Kulikov said. He added that under the already studied painting there may be more ancient unexplored layers that humanity can lose forever.

According to him, the preservation of mosaics and murals, although not in full, is theoretically possible. However, this will require very large funds. “The pyramids of Egypt and the temple of Abu Simbel were transferred when hydraulic structures were built on the Nile. The question is specialists, the availability of money and political will, but this is a tremendous job that will require tremendous efforts, and it is not clear who will pay for all this, ”he added.

Kulikov also noted that such work would cause concern of UNESCO, subsidizing a large number of monuments in Turkey.

At the same time, the restorer emphasized that he could not recall any cases when work was carried out to preserve Christian paintings in churches turned into mosques.

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