A face of seraphim, which is one of the angel mosaics within Hagia Sophia, has been uncovered after 160 years.
In A.D. 537, Byzantine emperor Justinian built Hogia Sohpia as a basilica in Istanbul. However, when Ottoman Turks defeated and occupied Constantinople in 1453, the Ottomans covered crosses and the other Christian symbols up, and used the building as a mouque. During that time, this six-winged angel was covered with several layers of plaster and a metal mask because it represents a seraphim, an angel which appears in the biblical book of Isaiah. The last person who saw the mosaic, after then, was a Swiss architect Gaspare Fossati who managed the restoration at Hagia Sophia in 1840s. Since 1934 when Mustafa Kemal Ataturk converted Hogia sophia into a museum, many people has been visiting the site to see its grandeur. Now, the newly uncovered seraphim is not available to visitors, but according to the experts, the mosaic has been so well preserved.
It is interesting that the Ottomans didn’t remove the mosaics completely and just covered them up with plaster because it seems like the mosaics were fated to be revealed somehow later when religious or cultural transition takes place again. Also, the church of Hagia Sophia is very interesting place in a sense that it carries different characteristics of two cultures, Byzantine and Ottoman empires, simultaneously.