Turks hold first Eid prayers at Hagia Sophia mosque

Turkey’s Muslim worshippers attended Eid al-Azha prayers in Hagia Sophia on Friday for the first time after the historic building was converted to a mosque.

Hagia Sophia was the largest cathedral in the world for 900 years until its capture by Ottoman Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453, after which it became one of Islam’s most exalted mosques for nearly another 500 years until it was converted to a museum in 1934 by modern Turkey’s secularist founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

The ancient monument was once again declared a mosque earlier in July following a court ruling revoking its status as a museum, sparking criticism from Western countries, particularly Greece.

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