Why were Hagia Sophia’s mosaics covered?
Because Islam tends away from representational imagery, many mosaics were destroyed and others were covered with plaster.
Why aren’t all the mosaics uncovered?
Restoration work in the 20th century was begun in 1932 by the American Byzantine Institute, during which most of the figures were uncovered. Due to its long history as both a church and a mosque, a particular challenge arises in the restoration process.
The Christian iconographic mosaics are being gradually uncovered. However, in order to do so, important, historic Islamic art would have to be destroyed. Restorers have attempted to maintain a balance between both Christian and Islamic cultures.
Is there a Mosaic under the Dome’s Calligraphy?
In particular, much controversy rests upon whether the Islamic calligraphy on the dome of the cathedral should be removed, in order to permit the underlying Pantocrator mosaic of Christ as Master of the World, to be exhibited (assuming the mosaic still exists).