BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:10 A.M.) – The Turkish newspaper, Hurriyet Daily, said on Saturday that at the Hagia Sophia icons and paintings of Christian mosaics will be covered with light-based technology.
They explained that special curtains will be used during Islamic prayers, while carpets will be placed on the floor of the mosque, which will be lit in a certain way in order to darken the icons in the ceilings and walls.
Icons and mosaic panels are scattered in the walls and ceiling of Hagia Sophia, most of which carry Christian symbols such as the image of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary.
On Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a decree to open the historic Hagia Sophia landmark to worship as a mosque as of July 24.
He published on his official Twitter account, a picture of the presidential decree that transforms the Department of Teacher Affairs, located in Istanbul, into the presidency of Turkish religious affairs.
This came after the Turkish Supreme Administrative Court issued a historical ruling to cancel the decision of the Turkish government in 1934 that transformed this historic landmark from a mosque to a museum, and the new decision to characterize the Hagia Sophia as a mosque was based on the title deed.
This decision has drawn widespread criticism from Russia, Greece, the European Union, the United States and UNESCO.
The Hagia Sophia was built in 537 AD as the largest church in the Byzantine Empire, and after the conquest of Constantinople (present-day Istanbul) by the Ottoman Empire in 1453, it was converted into a mosque, and in 1934 the Turkish secular government, led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, decided to turn it into a museum that would be visited by tourists from different countries of the world.