After more than eight decades, Eid-Al-Fitr prayer was held at Istanbul’s iconic Hagia Sophia Mosque, which was reopened for Muslim worshippers last year, on Thursday.
Thousands of worshippers joined the prayer led by
Ali Erbas, head of Turkey’s top religious body Diyanet, led the prayers which were attended by thousands of Muslims.
Erbas delivered the Eid sermon holding a sword in his hand, an age-old tradition of Ottoman empire.
Firs Friday prayers in 85 years were held in Turkey’s iconic place in July 2020 after Hagia Sophia was again converted into a mosque.
“Now this place [the Hagia Sophia] has returned to its original form, it became a mosque again,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had said in 2020, wishing the historical monument will continue serving as a mosque forever to all believers.
“However, it is a place where people from all religions can come and visit as a cultural heritage of all humanity,” he added.
Hagia Sophia served as a church for 916 years until the conquest of Istanbul, and a mosque from 1453 to 1934, nearly half a millennium.