Trabzon, Turkey, May 16, 2013
The former Hagia Sophia church in Trabzon, Turkey is a monument of great historical and cultural significance. It was built in the mid 13th century as the cathedral of the Byzantine state of Trebizond. After the Ottoman conquest of Trebizond it was converted into a mosque and its frescos were whitewashed. From 1958 - 1964 the building was restored and the frescos uncovered. In 1964 it became a museum, following the example of its namesake, the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. In 2013 local religious authorities in Trabzon decided to end the use of the building as museum and they announced that it will operate as a mosque again. The frescos will be covered. Many in both Turkey and abroad have protested against this decision, but as yet without result.
We appeal to the responsible Turkish authorities' and their good international reputation and record in safeguarding one of the worlds richest cultural legacies and we ask them to reconsider their decision.
This petition is an initiative of the Facebook group 'Save the Ottoman monuments in Greece' and two Greek NGO's: the Rhodes International Culture & Heritage Society and Cool Culture.