According to a Daily Sabah report, Christian icons from various Byzantine churches across Turkey are collected in a laboratory inside Topkapı Palace, which is within walking distance from Hagia Sophia. In the laboratory, experts are working to restore the icons.
A total of 452 icons have been collected so far, with 45 of them being completely restored already. Some of them are over 300 years old, with the experts working meticulously to bring them back to their original glory. The majority of them belong to the 17th and 18th centuries, according to Daily Sabah.
Once the icons are restored, they will be put on display at a separate museum. The particular icons are considered to be crucial to the preservation of Christian heritage.
Director of the laboratory Ali Osman Avsar told Anadolu Agency that some of the icons were in a state of disrepair when they were brought to their lab.
“Our experts analyzed their paints and the wood they were painted on before beginning the conservation work. They applied fumigation to clear them of harmful bugs and bacteria,” he said.
The icons were kept in Hagia Sophia Museum, but Avsar said they are planning to set up a new museum for them, due to the limited space in the landmark basilica.
Professor Sema Dogan from Hacettepe University, one of the experts working on the conservation and restoration project, said they sought to keep the icons in their original state through “right application” and that experts were exchanging information with Italian restoration experts.