The Hagia Sophia Church in Pontus on Turkey's eastern Black Sea coast was first turned into a museum, and then later a mosque. Now the church is being buried in concrete, Tourkika Nea reported.
A major disaster is happening in Trapezounta, after the church was converted from a museum into a mosque in 2013 by the dictatorship, as a German think-tank described it, of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The Hagia Sophia Church was built in 1250. After its conversion into a mosque in 2013, 800-year-old hagiographies were covered and some of them even destroyed.
The Hagia Sophia in Trapezounta, a very beautiful building but overshadowed by the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, was built as a monastery by East Roman Emperor Manuel I in 1250-1260.
This building, which even in the time of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror was used as a church, closed in the aftermath of the Greek Genocide and was reopened as a museum after 1964.
In 2012 it was handed over to the General Directorate of Waqf and in 2013 it was opened as a mosque. But after the opening of this historic church as a mosque, a major catastrophe occurred.
Ejup Mukhtzou, president of the Chamber of Architects, describes what happened in the mosque as following:
"In the museum's location there is a mosque without a religious community. Around the museum, the design was changed and toilets and other concrete structures were constructed. Some parts of the walls were painted green. The paintings on the dome were covered with a wooden curtain. The mosaics on the floor were covered with carpets. Mosaics and paintings of hundreds of years that were on the walls and were preserved to this day have been destroyed. To hang a curtain to separate the space for women, nails were inserted into the historic walls."
Hagia Sophia before its conversion into a mosque was visited by 150,000 tourists and together with the monastery of Panagia Soumela were the most visited places in Trapezounta. In particular, Hagia Sofia was visited by foreign tourists.