The historic steps of Hagia Sophia was covered with parquet

Hagia Sophia

The changes in the Hagia Sophia have caused intense debates in Turkey, according to Cumhuriyet newspaper, whose recent publication included related photos of the historic stone steps of the iconic Istanbul monument covered with parquet.

As the Turkish newspaper points out, the change at Hagia Sophia is probably intended to protect against damage; however, many consider the addition of parquet unsightly.

According to art historian Oğuzhan Karadirek, the decision to install the parquet was probably made because the iconic Cathedral-converted-mosque is a place that attracts many visitors.

According to him, a soft material has also been placed under the parquet to ensure that the stone steps are not damaged further as restoration work continues.

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It is recalled that since Monday, the decision of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism to impose an entry ticket to Hagia Sophia for foreign tourists came into force.

The ministry has completed the separation of entrances for those who will enter the monument as pilgrims and those who will visit it for cultural or tourist purposes. The entrance fee for foreigners entering the historic mosque for tourist purposes is 25 euros.

A related announcement by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism states: "As part of the restoration and protection of the monument started by the Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Ersoy, it is planned to install a ticket office in a specific place that has already been prepared for visitors and will be put into operation on January 15th."

"In addition, security cameras, fire detection systems and emergency notification systems have been installed, while protective measures have been taken along the mosque's sightseeing route."

The same announcement emphasises that "citizens of the Turkish Republic who will visit the mosque for purposes of religious worship will continue to enter free of charge through the entrance provided for this reason."

In the Turkish press reports, it is pointed out that the cleaning and protection work on the marble covers and the wooden railings on the floor of the gallery of Hagia Sophia was carried out by conservators after the approval and supervision of the competent scientific committee.

Also, with a special headset system and through a QR code, visitors will be able to be informed about the monument in 23 languages ​​in a quiet environment without disturbing the pilgrims who will be praying at it.

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