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24 May, 2024
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Hagia Sophia to charge tourist visitors in 2024

Turkish citizens enter free, tourists pay for access


In a move that is raising eyebrows and sparking debate, the Turkish government is set to impose entry fees at the Hagia Sophia mosque in Istanbul, a decision announced by the Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mehmet Nouri Ersoy.

Starting from January 15, 2024, non-Turkish visitors who wish to enter the Hagia Sophia, a symbol of Christianity, will be required to purchase a ticket, even though it has traditionally served as a place of religious worship for Muslims.

Turkish citizens, on the other hand, will continue to have free access to the historic site, a decision that aims to balance the needs of pilgrims and tourists, according to Ersoy.

"We are transitioning to a visitor management system at the Hagia Sophia mosque to enhance the quality and safety of visits," Ersoy stated during a press conference at the Ataturk Cultural Center. He emphasized that this move was recommended by UNESCO.

The decision comes as a measure to ensure that the Hagia Sophia can accommodate both Turkish citizens visiting for religious purposes and foreign tourists. Ersoy's announcement has stirred discussions about the delicate balance between preserving the historical and religious significance of the site and managing the influx of tourists.

This development has drawn attention to the ongoing debate over the Hagia Sophia's status, which was converted from a museum to a mosque by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The imposition of entry fees for foreign visitors is seen as a significant shift, as it transforms a place of worship into a revenue-generating site.

As of January 15, 2024, tourists visiting the Hagia Sophia will need to pay an entrance fee, signaling a new chapter in the historic site's long and complex history.

[With information sourced from NTV]

Cyprus  |  Istanbul  |  HagiaSophia  |  mosque  |  fees  |  tourists

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