Friday prayers are to be held at Istanbul’s iconic Hagia Sophia building for the first time since the celebrated museum was turned back into a mosque.
“Muslims are excited, everyone wants to be at the opening,” Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya said on Thursday.
The 1,500-year-old Unesco World Heritage site became a museum in 1934.
But earlier this month, a Turkish court annulled Hagia Sophia’s museum status, saying its use as anything other than a mosque was “not possible legally”.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan then announced that the world-famous site would be used as a mosque for Friday prayers from 24 July.
The move was criticised by religious and political leaders worldwide.
Hagia Sophia was built as an Orthodox Christian cathedral and first converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest nine centuries later.
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