First Muslim Friday prayers at Hagia Sophia after 86 years

02:11 PM | 24 Jul, 2020
First Muslim Friday prayers at Hagia Sophia after 86 years

ISTANBUL – A huge number of Muslims have gathered at Hagia Sophia, Istanbul today to offer Friday prayer after 86 years.

Talking to media, the Governor of Istanbul Ali Yerlikaya said everyone is looking forward to attending the special prayers with great enthusiasm.

Stressing the measures being taken against the coronavirus, he said five different open spaces are reserved for worshipers to prevent overcrowding.

Ali Yerlikaya said the worshippers who come to Hagia Sophia should bring their own masks and prayer rugs as well as patience and understanding to protect against the coronavirus.

Hagia Sophia is among Turkey's top tourism destinations for both domestic and foreign visitors.

In 1985, during its time as a museum, Hagia Sophia was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Radio Pakistan reported.

It served as a church for 916 years until the conquest of Istanbul, and a mosque from 1453 to 1934 and most recently as a museum for 86 years.

On 10th of this month, 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 86-years.

The architectural treasure will also be opened to domestic and foreign tourists free of charge.