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Trabzon's Hagia Sophia Church to be restored

The Hagia Sophia Church, located in Turkey's northeastern province of Trabzon (Greek Trapezounda), will undergo a new restoration project worth about 2 million Turkish liras.

Trabzon's Hagia Sophia Church to be restored
The Hagia Sopia Church in Trabzon, Turkey [Credit: İhsan Deniz Kılıçoğlu/WikiCommons]
The medieval Greek church of Hagia Sophia (also referred to as Saint Sophia or Ayasofya) was built between 1238 and 1263, and later converted into a mosque in 1461 during the Ottoman period.

The Hagia Sophia Church, which is regarded as one of the finest examples of Byzantine architecture, served a museum for 52 years before it was reopened as a mosque in 2013.

A mihrab, a minbar and carpets were added to the church without damaging the historical structure, while all the frescoes were covered with curtains to create room for prayers.

Trabzon's Hagia Sophia Church to be restored
Inner view of the dome of Hagia Sophia, Trabzon [Credit: Alaexis/WikiCommons]
Trabzon's Regional Director of Foundations Ismet Çalık said that the Hagia Sophia Church was one of the most important touristic attractions of the Black Sea region.

The planned restoration project will be launched within this year and mainly focus on removing the screening system used to cover the building's frescoes.

Explaining the new project, Çalık said that the southern part of the building, where no frescoes are pictured, will be opened to worship all the time, whereas the dome and the walls with frescoes in the northern part will be covered with a special transparent screening system. This new system will cover the paintings with an electrical film activated only by a button whenever needed during prayers, turning the transparent glass opaque.

Trabzon's Hagia Sophia Church to be restored
Frescoes of Hagia Sophia, Trabzon [Credit: Alaexis/WikiCommons]
The restoration is planned to last for two years and will also include environmental planning of the site, preserving the nature while a walking path will be built with natural stones.

The former Hagia Sophia church is an important example of late Byzantine architecture, characterized by a high central dome and four large column arches supporting the weight of the dome and the ceiling.

Source: Daily Sabah [January 24, 2017]

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