Mosaics depicting Christian figures in Hagia Sophia will be covered with curtains during Muslim prayers, said Turkish Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın on Sunday as work to prepare the building for use as a mosque continues.
Turkish authorities said last week that the mosaics would be covered with either curtains or lasers when the first Muslim prayers take place next Friday.
Yesterday the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, visited Hagia Sophia, where – as reported by the Turkish media – he was briefed on the works and preparations at the historic monument in view of the first prayer that will be held next Friday, on July 24, as the Turkish Council of State decided to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
The Turkish president was accompanied by Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Nuri Ersoy and the president of the Directorate of Religious Affairs. Hagia Sophia will remain closed until the first prayer takes place, while over the last few days changes are being carried out in the historic church. Hagia Sophia will be open to the public, as it was before, and guided tours will be allowed.