The world-famous Aya Sofia building in Istanbul, Turkey, is opening for worship today, Friday, July 24, after 86 years, with Friday prayers.
A few days ago, following a decision by a Turkish court to convert the Sofia Museum into a mosque, President Erdogan announced that the building would soon be reopened as a mosque. However, many countries and international organizations had expressed regret and unhappiness over his announcement. Among them were the United States, the European Union, Russia, Greece and UNESCO.
According to historical documents, the Roman emperor Justinian wanted to build an extraordinary church. Only 15 years after the decree, the church’s infrastructure was inaugurated. For almost a thousand years it was the largest church in the Christian world. After conquering Istanbul in 1453, Sultan Mehmed II converted it into a Muslim mosque. But in 1934, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, decided to turn it into a museum. Today, 86 years later, with the Friday prayers, its mosque status has been restored.