A new museum is being set up near Hagia Sophia to display portable icons and Holy relics, Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said.
Speaking at the signing of the protocol on the protection, development, promotion and management of Hagia Sophia, the minister said that “everyone can express their opinion on ‘Hagia Sophia’, but no one is above the decision taken by the independent judiciary and welcomed by our nation.”
Ersoy claimed that “the Turkish nation fought to preserve ‘Hagia Sophia’ to this day” and has diligently taken care of it for 576 years.
The minister reiterated that Hagia Sophia will be open for locals and tourists free of charge. He also revealed that the Land Registry building located in Sultanahmet Square will exhibit the portable icons and Holy relics.
On his part, the head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate, Ali Erbas, said that “Hagia Sophia has served as a mosque for 481 years since 1453. It will continue to serve Muslims but will continue to serve all of humanity without discrimination in religion.”
“From now on, I believe that the number of visitors to Hagia Sophia will increase even more. Millions of people will come, not only from our country but from all over the world, both to visit it and to pray. We will try to fulfil this task in the best way by offering quality services,” he added.