Crowds gathered in Istanbul as the historic Hagia Sophia site opened for Friday prayers for the first time since Turkish authorities ruled it could be converted into a mosque.
“Muslims are excited, everyone wants to be at the opening,” Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya said on Thursday.
The 1,500-year-old Unesco World Heritage site became a museum in 1934.
But a Turkish court annulled its status, saying any use other than as a mosque was “not possible legally”.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan then announced that the world-famous site would be ready for Friday prayers from 24 July, and he was seen joining worshippers at around midday (09:00 GMT).
Please subscribe HERE