Entrance Fee Introduced for Foreign Visitors to Hagia Sophia in Istanbul
Turkey's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, has announced that the entrance to the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul will soon become a paid attraction for foreign tourists, as reported by Anadolu.
Noting that the Hagia Sophia and the Sultanahmet Square are listed as permanent UNESCO heritage sites, Ersoy stated that they have listened to the advice and recommendations of UNESCO and have undertaken the restoration of the Hagia Sophia Mosque.
Currently, work is underway to change and repair the upper covering of the main dome of the Hagia Sophia. During these renovations, the Hagia Sophia will remain open to visitors and worshippers.
"Following UNESCO's recommendation, we will implement a visitor management plan at Ayasofya-i Kebir Camii-i Şerifi from January 15, 2024. The quality of visits and services in the Hagia Sophia Mosque will be enhanced, and from January 15, foreign visitors will start paying," the minister announced.
He mentioned that according to tourism data for the first nine months, the total number of visitors, which was 40.2 million last year, has increased to 45.2 million by the end of September.
Ersoy stated that Turkey has earned 42 billion dollars in revenue from tourism during the first nine months of 2023, and the midterm target for this year's tourism program is 55.6 billion dollars.
"Visits by our Turkish citizens for worship purposes will remain free, as before," the minister added.
For the restoration of the Hagia Sophia, a precise digital replica of the mosque was created for the first time in history. All details of the mosque have been recorded digitally, and restoration work has begun. Initially, work will be carried out on the first and second minarets of Beyazit, where construction barriers will be installed.
As previously reported by The Gaze, Italy will assist Ukraine in rebuilding the destroyed Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral in Odesa, which suffered damage from a night rocket strike by Russian forces in the summer. Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni stated that her country is ready to participate in the reconstruction of the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral in Ukraine. She expressed her condolences to the families affected by the Russian rocket attack on Odesa and declared Italy's readiness to assist in the restoration of not only the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral but also other cultural heritage treasures in Ukraine damaged by the Russian war.