For the first time in 86 years, Muslims in Turkey offered Eid-Al-Adha prayers at the historic Hagia Sophia Mosque in Istanbul on July 31.
According to Turkish media, the biggest Eid-Al-Adha gathering took place in Hagia Sophia, in which thousands of people prayed in congregation.
In the wake of coronavirus, the worshipers took strict precautionary measures while maintaining social distance. Thousands of people offered the prayers led by Ali Arbas, the Head of Religious Affairs.
Furthermore, the Speaker of parliament, ministers, top officials, district mayors and other dignitaries also offered prayers at the historic mosque.
Eid-Al-Adha – the Feast of Sacrifice — is one of the most important holidays in the Muslim Calendar. It includes the pilgrimage to holy city of Mecca, known as “Hajj”, which is one of the five pillars of Islam.
Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had visited Hagia Sofia just days before the first Friday prayers.
The President paid a visit for inspection, Erdogan took stock of the conversion work, providing pictures showing scaffolding inside the building.
However, it was unclear whether Erdogan planned to be among some 500 worshipers set to attend Friday prayers.
Turkey’s top court paved the way for the conversion in a decision to revoke the edifice’s museum status conferred nearly a century ago.
Moreover, the sixth-century building had been open to all visitors, regardless of their faith, since its inauguration as a museum in 1935.