On the momentous occasion of the mosque’s third anniversary, Muslims from diverse nations gathered for the early morning prayer.
Three years have passed since the reversion of the Ayasofya Grand Mosque, a historic monument where Ottoman Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror performed the first Friday prayer after the famous conquest of Istanbul.
Known as the “Symbol of Conquest,” the monument served as a church for 916 years until Istanbul was conquered in 1453. Soon after the arrival of Ottoman rule, Ayasofya served as a mosque for almost five centuries until it was converted into a museum in 1934.
Three years ago today, an 86 year-old longing came to an end and the first friday prayer was held in Ayasofya Mosque after its reopening. Many of us were fortunate to have witnessed this historical moment.
— Muhammed Danyâl (@Danyal_1453) July 24, 2023
On the momentous occasion of the mosque’s third anniversary, Muslims from diverse nations gathered for the early morning prayer, conducted by Türkiye’s President of Religious Affairs, Ali Erbas, and attended by Governor of Istanbul, Davut Gul.
In his address, Erbas expressed joy for commemorating one of the most jubilant days, stating, “Three years ago, on July 24, 2020, an 86-year longing finally concluded. With the resolute decision of our esteemed president, Ayasofya regained its sacred purpose. Over the past three years, research indicates that the Ayasofya Mosque has welcomed nearly 2.1 million people.”
On July 10, 2020, a Turkish court overturned the 1934 Cabinet decree, leading to its restoration as the Ayasofya Grand Mosque after an 86-year hiatus. The glorious monument returned to its former splendor on July 24, 2020, the first Friday prayer was performed, attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a grand ceremony.
3 yıl önce bugün
— camideyiz.biz (@camideyizbiz) July 24, 2023
Bunyamin Topcuoglu, the Imam of the Ayasofya Grand Mosque, revealed that during these three years, Ayasofya has welcomed approximately 21 million visitors.
“In 2021, nearly 1.3 million people visited Ayasofya. As of 2022, we witnessed a significant surge in visitors, reaching a total of around 13.6 million. By January-June 2023, we have already welcomed approximately 6 million visitors, and this number continues to rise.”
In 1985, UNESCO designated Ayasofya as a World Heritage Site. Today, it stands as one of Türkiye’s top tourist destinations, welcoming both domestic and foreign visitors. The mosque’s enduring allure attracts considerable attention from tourists, often leading to long queues forming outside its magnificent gates.
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