President Erdogan visited the Hagia Sophia this weekend. It appears that some of the mosaics will be draped off during prayers, but all mosaics will be visible at other times: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/07/turkey-erdogan-visits-hagia-sophia-reconversion-mosque-200719142917508.html
The thought had crossed my mind that the mosaics would be removed to preclude the edifice ever being used as anything but a mosque.
If mosaics remain for viewing during 'secular' time, it could be the best situation to be hoped for, under the circumstances.
That is really good news! Thank you, Leonard, for sharing this update.
I am happy with the decision about the mosaics. It shows we can all get along if we want.
The mosaics was what I was most worried about as they are what I would most want to see when visiting. I love Byzantine art and mosaics!! Makes me feel better.
Some areas in the Hagia Sophia are still under renovation. After the renovations, those mosaics will be visible again. Also, the Chora (Church) Museum is now being converted to a mosque. This article is from August: https://www.urdupoint.com/en/world/turkey-promises-to-open-access-to-hagia-sophi-1013231.html
From the article.
When addressing the issue of converting another Istanbul-based Orthodox church, the Holy Saviour in Chora, into a mosque, the diplomat said that it was Turkey's internal affairs. At the same time, Erkhov said that the issue of preserving access to Byzantine-era Christian relics was important for Russia.
Chora Church, originally built as a monastery complex in the 4th century, is one of the oldest historical buildings in Istanbul. It was converted into a mosque in 1511. In 1958, Chora was opened as a museum to the public.
So I am planning a trip for December that includes a stop in Istanbul. I have been talking to a guide that I am thinking about hiring (yes, I use guides), and apparently the Hagia Sophia opening times for tourists are somewhat limited; a fraction of what it once was. I don't expect a problem in December but when tourism in general returns it sounds like it will be a long line. The Blue Mosque is closed for renovations ... no not renovations for tourism. But its their country so .........................
The Chora Church is a must see when visiting Istanbul. The mosaics there are close up and wonderful.
Also, the church is close to the original wall of the city and one area of the ancient wall has been repaired for tourists. It is near the church and well worth a visit.
Another vote for the Chora Church, though they should learn the proper name for it as we got lost going to the church and no one knew what church we were talking about until we showed a page with the Turkish name. Other than that both the outside and inside are beautifully decorated and it must have been otherworldly to see it by candlelight. Keep on the lookout for the one of the cats that live there! They are the friendliest cats I've found.