More than 1.5 million people have visited the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque since the July re-opening of the historic Istanbul building for Muslim prayers after serving 86 years as a museum.

Istanbul Mufti Mehmet Emin Masali told Anadolu Agency that over 1.5 million people had visited Hagia Sophia after it’s re-opening as a mosque.

“The Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque is visited by 15,000 visitors on weekdays and 25,000 to 30,000 on Fridays and weekends,” Masali said.

Thousands of people from Turkey and abroad come to visit the mosque that is open round the clock and visits are organized in line with coronavirus measures, he added.

On July 24th, Friday prayers in the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque marked the first Muslim acts of worship there in 86 years. The Hagia Sophia which served as a church for 916 years until the conquest of Istanbul, and a mosque from 1453 to 1934, about 500 years, and most recently as a museum for 86 years.

Besides being a mosque, the Hagia Sophia is also among Turkey’s top tourism destinations and remains open for domestic and foreign visitors. In 1985, Hagia Sophia was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

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