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Turkish professor warns: Hagia Sophia will collapse if it is not closed

Such a large number of visitors should not be allowed to enter the Hagia Sophia, argued a distinguished Turkish historian and professor. He warned that if the authorities do not close the structure, it will collapse.

As reported, Turkish historian and professor İlber Ortaylı published an article a few days ago on the damages caused to Hagia Sophia and the number of visitors who visit the monument.

“Can so many people be allowed into a 1,500-year-old building? What if it doesn’t close? It is obvious that entry of visitors cannot be allowed. That is why it must be closed and restored. Perpetual restoration is needed. If they’re smart, they’ll close it. If they don’t, it will collapse,” stressed İlber Ortaylı.

In addition, in an article in the newspaper Hurriyet, on September 17, the professor expressed his concern about the damages that have been caused to the monument due to its conversion into a mosque. He pointed out, on the one hand, that the Hagia Sophia must be closed for a certain period of time so that to carry out restoration works. On the other hand, he considers that the annual entry of three million pilgrims, in addition to the number of tourists, to be disastrous, as stated in

According to Turkey’s Tourism and Culture Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, Hagia Sophia has received 21 million visitors since it was converted into a mosque three years ago.

Also, the Turkish minister announced projects to improve the stability of Hagia Sophia two months ago, in the context of the restoration of important historical monuments of Constantinople.

It is noteworthy that, according to, the professor also criticised the interventions made in the monument so for it to be operating a mosque. He said: “Toilets and fountains that would meet the daily needs of a mosque cannot be installed in Hagia Sophia.”

“Hagia Sophia is there for 1500 years. It is not reasonable to use the toilets of Hagia Sophia for defecation. If every visitor uses the water fountains and toilets, how will the sewage system under this building hold up?” he stressed.