North Aegean Governor urges finance suspension of mosque restoration on Lesvos 2

The North Aegean Regional Governor, Costas Moutzouris, requested in a letter to the Minister of Development, Adonis Georgiadis, and the Minister of Finance, Christos Staikouras, the suspension of financing the restoration of the Valide mosque in Mytilene, Proto Thema reported.

“The North Aegean Regional Governor and the Regional Authority consider that in the current circumstances the financing and execution of the project that was approved and included in the Special Purpose Development Program for the North Aegean 2017-2020 should be stopped,” Moutzouris wrote.

In 2018, €1.2 million was assigned to restore the building.

The Governor himself stated that he proceeded with this decision since he cannot be indifferent to “what is happening in Constantinople and especially the transformation  of Hagia Sophia into a mosque by the Erdoğan government.”

The executor of the project that has already started is the Ephorate of Antiquities of Lesvos and in addition to the repair of the main area of ​​the mosque, the study provides for the repair and support of its minaret, but also the renovation of the surrounding area.

The Valide Mosque in Epano Skala of Mytilene is the oldest on the island, built in 1615 and designated as a monument in 1981 by the Ministry of Culture. Since then there has not been the slightest maintenance work on the monument. The Valide Mosque is located in the old Turkish quarter of Mytilene, known as Epano Skala, which is to the north of the main harbour and west of the city’s castle. 

The historic building is a single level structure with a pitched roof and a single six metre high minaret. The minaret was built with red stone from Kydonies (Κυδωνίες, Turkish: Ayvalık) in modern day Turkey directly opposite Lesvos.

The coloured frescos inside the mosque were covered in dark colours when the Muslim population were expelled from Lesvos, and the recovery work was hoping to restore this, as well as a marble fountain and marble staircase.