By Manolis Kostidis
Dec 6, 2022
New reports have emerged in the Turkish media regarding more damage to the 6th century Hagia Sophia Orthodox cathedral in Istanbul, which was converted into a mosque in 2020.
Photos taken by a Turkish archaeologist show damage to the Imperial Gate, while local archaeologists and historians have referred to cracks in the floor of the monument and vandalism on its doors.
According to the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet, Hagia Sophia is now visited by around one million people a month, with the result that it has suffered considerable damage and deterioration, especially since its conversion into a Muslim mosque.
At the same time, reports in other Turkish media, such as Sozcu, refer to the damage to the door of the Hagia Sophia, to which archaeologist Omer Faruk Yavascay made reference in a video posted on social media.
“Today I encountered another very sad sight for the Hagia Sophia mosque and our history. Sadly again, I spotted damage on both sides of the gate just below the mosaic of the emperors. I took photos and videos to document this situation,” he said.
The headlines of the relevant publications were also indicative, with Sozcu stressing “an additional episode (of damage) to the door of Hagia Sophia,” while Cumhuriyet declared that “the government is watching while the damage continues.”
“Once again destruction at Hagia Sophia,” it said.
Authorities responsible for Hagia Sophia were adamant that the the monument is being protected, and that it is monitored by 160 cameras and 81 people.
Furthermore, they also insist that there are members of the tourist police and special forces inside the Hagia Sophia and that “there is no gap in the security of the venue.”
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