Skip to content

Hagia Sophia set for 3rd largest restoration in its history with ‘digital twin’

Hagia Sophia set for 3rd largest restoration in its history with 'digital twin' An aerial view shows the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, in Istanbul, Türkiye, June 16, 2024. (AA Photo)
By Newsroom
Jun 21, 2024 1:10 PM

In an effort to preserve history and ensure resilience, a “digital twin” of Istanbul’s iconic Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque has been completed this week. This digital twin serves a dual purpose: it creates a permanent record of the architectural marvel in the digital realm and provides a blueprint for reconstruction in the event of a devastating earthquake.

Launched in 2022 by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the project utilized cutting-edge scanning technology to capture every detail of the building.

This effort represents a crucial step in securing the future of this UNESCO World Heritage site, Sengul Kocagul, head of the General Directorate for Foundations’ Artworks and Construction Department, told TRT Haber.

Kocagul noted that following the scans, restoration and reinforcement work on several points of the structure was planned, with some efforts already underway.

Hagia Sophia set for 3rd largest restoration in its history with 'digital twin'
A digital scan of the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, in Istanbul, Türkiye. (Photo by Ministry of Culture and Tourism)

“In the second phase of the project, we predict what kind of damage the structure can take in the event of an earthquake with the help of a static modeling of the structure, and we will try to take precautions against them,” Kocagul said.

“The Beyazit Minaret is currently surrounded by scaffolding as it is deemed the most susceptible part of the structure to potential damage,” she noted.

Kocagul explained that the scientific committee leading the program was preparing projects that would see most of Hagia Sophia go under restoration and reinforcement. “(Like Beyazit Minaret), the same work is also underway for the other three minarets. Also, we are working on the domes, detecting possible damages, documenting and determining how to apply solutions,” Kocagul stated.

The projects would be Hagia Sophia’s third most extensive restoration in its history. The structure was restored and strengthened by the famous Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan in 1572.

Afterward, it underwent major maintenance and repairs by the Fossati brothers in 1847 during the reign of Sultan Abdulmejid I. The Fossati brothers, Gaspare and Giuseppe, were Swiss architects who completed over 50 projects in the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century.

Last Updated:  Jun 21, 2024 2:40 PM