Selimiye Mosque is currently being digitized through 3-D modeling.
The modeling work started at the Selimiye Mosque, which was built by the famous architect Sinan in 1575 and is regarded as the peak of Turkish-Islamic architecture.
The Faculty of Architecture from the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Vakıf University (FSMVU) is conducting the project.
It is being carried out with the help of an unmanned aerial vehicle in addition to measuring instruments called "nivo" and "mira" outside the mosque's façade, and it is expected to be completed in two months.
Directorate of Foundations Edirne Regional Manager Osman Güneren said that Selimiye Mosque, which has been transferred to digital media thanks to this project, will be visited through the virtual environment.
Güneren stated that the 3-D model of Selimiye Mosque, regarded as Sinan's masterpiece, started to be prepared with advanced photogrammetric methods by taking advantage of the photographs taken from the real structure by FSMVU's Research Center for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage of Foundations (KURAM).
Within the scope of this project, which is a first for the Selimiye Mosque, the KURAM technical team made measurements at the mosque and took photographs using advanced techniques to prepare a real 3-D model of the structure.
Güneren noted that detailed photographs of the mosque were taken with cameras calibrated from the air and facades with unmanned aerial drones as well as the measurements made by the experts and photographs taken in accordance with the technique.
He said that by using the calibrated photographs and measurements, a 3-D model will be prepared in real scale, consisting of real images of the world heritage site, and that these photographs and measurements will be digitally modeled by the 3-D modeling program.
"This three-dimensional, real-scale model, which consists of true images of the mosque and is regarded as a photogrammetric survey, will offer important data for the mosque's promotion, conservation, and safe transfer to the future," Güneren added.
Güneren stated that the 3-D modeling will be displayed on the website of the regional directorate, thus enabling visitors to look at all the facades of the mosque on the digital environment.
Restoration planned for this year
The Selimiye Mosque, which hosts many local visitors under the scope of religious tourism, attracts foreign tourists due to its inclusion in UNESCO's World Heritage List.
According to last year's figures, 1.5 million people visited the mosque.
Meanwhile, the mosque will go through extensive restoration. The mosque's survey project was approved by the Edirne Regional Conservation Council and its restitution and restoration projects were also completed, while the restoration works are slated to be carried out in autumn.
The mosque will not be closed to visitors during the process.