Chora Museum is considered to be one of the most impressive surviving Byzantine monuments in İstanbul, Turkey, and an icon of late Byzantine art and architecture.
In November 2019, however, Turkey’s highest administrative court ordered that it was to be reconverted to a mosque. With its status altered to a mosque, its images of Jesus, mosaics and frescoes were covered with curtains on 27 October.
İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality Secretariat General Mahir Polat issued a statement via social media.
Dünya sanat tarihinin baş yapıtlarından Kariye fresk ve mozaiklerinin kapatılması ne yazık ki yapının karakterini ve sanatsal değerini öldürecek vasıfısızlıkta.
Solda eski hali, sağda yeni hali. Proje Türkiye kültür mirası yöneten ve koruyan bakanlık ve kurumları. pic.twitter.com/ijItpmLxCz
— Mahir Polat (@mhrpolat) October 27, 2020
He stated that the covering of the frescos and icons might lead to its artistic construction and value being destroyed. The project belongs to ministries and associations which govern and protect the cultural heritage of Turkey.
A decision was made for Chora Museum to be handed over to the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs so that it could be opened to worship on 30 October.
Chora Museum will be opened to worship with Friday prayer on 30 October. The Turkish government had also decided to turn Hagia Sophia Museum, a Byzantium era church located in İstanbul, into a mosque in August. Hagia Sophia was also handed to the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs to open it to worship.
Chora Museum has a history dating back to the 6th century. The museum was a church during the Byzantine era. It had been turned into a mosque during Ottoman Empire after the 16th century before being made a museum in 1945.