The historic Istanbul cathedral and museum, Hagia Sophia ('Ayasofya' in Turkish), witnessed its first Quran recitation under its roof after 85 years on Saturday.
The Religious Affairs Directorate launched the calligraphy exhibition "Love of Prophet Hagia Sophia," ('Aşk-ı Nebi' in Turkish) as part of commemorations of the birth of Islamic Prophet Muhammad. The calligraphic work runs until May 8.
Religious Affairs Chairman Mehmet Görmez, Undersecretary for Ministry of Culture and Tourism Ahmet Haluk and Istanbul Governor Vasip Şahin attended the opening ceremony, which saw Ali Tel, imam at modern Ahmet Hamdi Akseki Mosque in the capital Ankara, recite a passage from the Islamic holy scripture, Quran.
The historic basilica served as a cathedral for almost thousand years since 1453, when it was turned into a mosque with the conquest of Istanbul in 1453. It was later secularized and converted into a museum in 1935.
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