HomeCultureGreek archaeologists call on UNESCO to save Hagia Sophia

Greek archaeologists call on UNESCO to save Hagia Sophia

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The Association of Greek Archaeologists (SEA) have sent an open letter to the UNESCO Director General, Audrey Azoulay, calling on the organisation to save the former Orthodox cathedral of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey.

This comes after recent reports and images have emerged of vandalism and damage to Hagia Sophia, which was converted to a mosque in 2020.

In the letter, SEA asked UNESCO to “intervene forcefully to reverse the current situation, which only poses risks for Hagia Sophia… a property inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.”

“The lack of control of visitors and the absence of security personnel testify to the indifference to the protection of the monument and leave the protection of the unique monument to the will of each visitor or pilgrim,” the SEA continued in the letter. 

“Justifiably, there has been concern inside Turkey and on a global level about the further life of the unique Hagia Sophia.”

Interior of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey, July 24, 2022. Photo: AA Photo.

SEA said it will address the international scientific community to obtain resolutions and signed petitions for the preservation of the monument. 

The letter also raised concerns about Chora Monastery in Istanbul, where work is currently underway so that it too can be reopened as a mosque.

READ MORE: Australia’s Greek organisations denounce conversion of Hagia Sophia into mosque.

Source: Ekathimerini and SEA.

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