ISTANBUL, 25 July (BelTA — Anadolu Agensy). — The historical Hagia Sophia in Istanbul marked the third anniversary of its reopening as a mosque on Monday.
Ali Erbas, the head of the Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), led the morning prayer at the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque.
Calling the reopening of Hagia Sophia as a mosque as “one of the happiest days” of his life, Erbas said: “Three years ago, on July 24, 2020, 86 years of longing came to an end.”
“With the decision of our president, Hagia Sophia was reopened for worship,” he recalled, adding that a total of 21 million people have visited the historical site ever since.
Noting that the place was inherited from Mehmed the Conqueror and is the most important symbol of the conquest of Istanbul, Erbas said he wishes that millions of people worship in Hagia Sophia until the end of time.
Fatih Sultan Mehmed, an Ottoman sultan, performed his first Friday prayer after conquering Istanbul in 1453.