Friday prayer has been held in Hagia Sophia after 86 years, APA’s Turkish bureau reports.
Before prayer surahs from Holy Koran have been read.
Turkish Presdient Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Vice President of Turkey Fuat Oktay, the chairperson of Turkish Parliament Mustafa Shentop, chairman of the Nationalist Movement Party Devlet Bakhcheli, former PM Tansu Chiller, members of the government, Fakhraddin Altun, Head of the Public Relations Department of the Presidential Administration of Turkey, head of the Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs Ali Erbash and other persons attended the Friday prayer.
Turkey’s iconic Hagia Sophia Mosque will reopen for worship for the first time in 86 years with Friday prayers on Friday, APA's Turkey bureau reports.
The iconic monument served as a church for 916 years until the conquest of Istanbul, and a mosque from 1453 to 1934 – nearly 500 years – and most recently as a museum for 86 years.
One of the most visited historic buildings in Turkey by domestic and international tourists, in 1985, during its time as a museum, Hagia Sophia was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
On July 10, a Turkish court annulled a 1934 Cabinet decree that had turned Hagia Sophia into a museum, paving the way for its use again as a mosque after an 86-year hiatus.
In the new era for Hagia Sophia, Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate will oversee religious services at the mosque, while the Culture and Tourism Ministry will supervise restoration and conservation work.
The architectural treasure will also be open to both domestic and foreign tourists free of charge.