First Muslim Friday prayers held at converted ancient Church 


First Muslim Friday prayers held at converted ancient Church

Muslims held Friday prayers in the ancient Chora, one of Istanbul’s most popular Byzantine-era monuments, for the first time since its conversion into a mosque, state broadcaster TRT reported.

Chora, formerly a museum, was officially converted back into a mosque in 2020.

After lengthy restoration work, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan opened the 4th-century UNESCO world heritage, as a mosque on Monday.

In 2020, Istanbul’s iconic Hagia Sophia was also converted back into a mosque following a decree by Erdoğan.

Both churches were converted into mosques following the 1435 Ottoman conquest of Istanbul.

Hagia Sophia was then made a museum in 1935 and Chora in 1945.

Some of their well-preserved mosaics and frescoes were now concealed with curtains in line with the Islamic tradition.

Their conversion was met with international criticism.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis slammed Chora’s conversion as an “action that insults Istanbul’s rich history” ahead of his scheduled meeting with Erdogan on May 13 in Turkey. (dpa/ NAN)

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