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Enormous crowds of Muslims be part of Turkish President Erdogan in first official prayer at Hagia Sophia for eight a long time (VIDEOS)

Huge crowds of Muslims join Turkish President Erdogan in first official prayer at Hagia Sophia for eight decades (VIDEOS)

1000’s of revellers, together with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have flocked to the Hagia Sophia within the historic coronary heart of Istanbul, for the primary official Muslim prayers held on the web site in 86 years.

The Friday prayers marked the monument’s reopening for worship after Turkish President President Tayyip Erdogan declared it to be a mosque as soon as extra. Prayer mats had been specified by Sultanahmet Sq. as the decision to prayer rang out.

A holy web site for Christians and Muslims for nearly 1,500 years, the Hagia Sophia was initially inbuilt 537 as a cathedral within the Byzantine Empire, earlier than being seized by the Ottoman Empire 900 years later and transformed right into a mosque till 1934, when it grew to become a museum.

It has been a UNESCO World Heritage web site since 1985, with the group’s Director-Common Audrey Azoulay having mentioned beforehand that she “deeply regrets” the choice by a Turkish courtroom to annul the monument’s standing as a museum earlier this month.

Regardless of criticism from church leaders that the transfer would inflame non secular tensions each inside Turkey and regionally, authorities say the location will stay open to all guests regardless of its renewed standing as a mosque, and that its Christian artworks can be protected.

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The Christian frescoes and mosaics contained in the monument will reportedly be hid throughout Muslim prayers.

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