The restoration of the “Çelebi Sultan Mehmed Mosque” finally starts after 5 years!
The historic Çelebi Sultan Mehmed (Beyazıt) Mosque in Didymoteicho (Dimetoka) in the Evros Regional Unit in Greece, will finally be restored after a fire broke out on 22 March 2017. Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni, who visited the mosque on 26 June 2022 as part of her visit to Western Thrace, announced that the restoration work will begin in the fall and will be completed in 2025.
Mendoni, who realised an inspection during her visit to the region indicated that the project budget created for the restoration was very large and that the only solution for the restoration was to include it in the Recovery Fund under the management of the Ministry of Culture. ‘We are optimistic that for the first time in years this monument will be properly restored’, Mendoni said.
The 600-year-old Çelebi Sultan Mehmed Mosque, located in the city centre of Didymoteicho (Dimetoka), is one of the most important Turkish-Islamic monuments in the Balkans and Europe and the first mosque built by the Ottoman Empire on the European continent. The restoration of the Çelebi Sultan Mehmed Mosque, whose unique wooden roof was completely destroyed in the fire that broke out in 2017, will be carried out by the National (Metsovian) Technical University of Athens within the framework of the research programme for the restoration of stone walls and the reconstruction of its roof.
“It is a positive step that the Minister of Culture and Sports visited the Çelebi Sultan Mehmed Mosque, which is one of the most important cultural and architectural monuments in Europe within the scope of her visit to our region made an on-site inspection in this respect.
Five years after the fire, we are of course hopeful that the restoration work on the mosque will finally begin. Stating that the restoration has to be included in the Recovery Fund due to the fact that the project budget is very large, the Minister’s statement shows the shame that has been going on for five years in the restoration of this important work.
Indeed, as ABTTF, in the works we have carried out before the UN and the Council of Europe and in the letters we have sent, we have constantly drawn attention to the flaws in the investigation of the fire in the mosque and the restoration of the mosque.
We know that our country constantly turns down the offers of help from our motherland for the renovation of the six-century-old mosque, which is one of the best examples of our common cultural heritage.
As representatives of the Turkish community in Western Thrace, we will continue to follow the restoration process” said Halit Habip Oğlu, President of the Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe (ABTTF).