Erdogan recites Quran at reopening of Hagia Sophia as mosque

Dunya News

The iconic monument served as a mosque from 1453 to 1934 nearly 500 years

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday (July 24) recited the Quran ahead of historic building s reopening for worship for the first time in 86 years.

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.

Preparations for the ceremony to be held due to the re-opening of the Hagia Sophia Mosque for worship after 86 years have been completed.

The opening, which will include guests from all segments of the society, will begin with the prayer program of the Presidency of Religious Affairs.

The Hagia Sophia Mosque will be opened for the prayers with the participation of President Erdogan and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli. The Hagia Sophia Mosque will be open until morning.