Turkey: Hagia Sophia Mosque reopening after 86-year gap


Turkey’s iconic Hagia Sophia Mosque will reopen for worship for the first time in 86 years with Friday prayers on Friday.

The iconic monument served as a church for 916 years until the conquest of Istanbul, and a mosque from 1453 to 1934 – nearly 500 years – and most recently as a museum for 86 years.

One of the most visited historic buildings in Turkey by domestic and international tourists, in 1985, during its time as a museum, Hagia Sophia was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

On July 10, a Turkish court annulled a 1934 Cabinet decree that had turned Hagia Sophia into a museum, paving the way for its use again as a mosque after an 86-year hiatus.