Erdogan inspects Hagia Sophia ahead of Islamic prayer on July 24

The Hagia Sophia will open as Muslim Mosque for the first time since 1934

July 19, 2020

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the Hagia Sophia and inspected the ongoing preparations at the site ahead of the scheduled first Islamic prayer on Friday, July 24th.

According to Turkish media reports, Erdogan, accompanied by Tourism and Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy and Constantinople’s (Istanbul) Governor Ali Yerlikaya arrived by car and observed the necessary precautions against the coronavirus.

The Turkish president was photographed inside the Hagia Sophia, while outside people were waiting for him and took pictures with him as he greeted them.

The decision by Turkey’s government to turn the UNESCO World Heritage site into a Mosque sparked a global backlash with many accusing the Turkish President of disrespecting the nature of the iconic structure, which had stood as a Christian cathedral for one millennium until 1453.