ISTANBUL: Thousands of Muslims gather as Hagia Sophia holds the first prayer in 86 years attended by the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan himself.
The Istanbul monument is nearly 1,500 years old and was originally built as a Greek cathedral during the reign of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I in 537AD and but converted to a Mosque in 1453 after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople.
The moment which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List served as church for 916 years and a Mosque for nearly 500 years until it was turned into a museum in 1934 by the Turkish founding father Kemal Attaturk.
On 10 July when Turkey’s Counsil of State, the highest administrative court in the country declared the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a museum as illegal, President Erdogan ordered the conversion of the museum back into a Mosque.
Although the move angered Christians all around the world who argued that the monument was originally a church and remained so for much longer than it had been a mosque. Many argued that it was just a move by President Erdogan to boost his party’s popularity among his conservative supporters.
This is a video of Hagia Sophia mosque holding the first prayer in 86 years.