Turkey’s Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque holds 1st Tarawih prayer in 88 years

Agia Sofia mosaics

Turkey’s Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque in Istanbul held its first Tarawih prayer in 88 years late Friday, a special evening prayer during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

A number of events for Ramadan will also be held at the mosque, which was converted into a museum in 1934 and regained its status as a mosque in 2020, when it was opened for worship on July 24 of that year.

Built 1,500 years ago as an Orthodox Christian cathedral, Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest in 1453.

In 1934 it became a museum and is now a Unesco World Heritage site.

After the conversion to a mosque images depicting the Virgin Mary and the archangel Gabriel, which are situated in the direction Muslims face during prayer, have been obscured.