Worship in the Hagia Sophia will begin to conduct from 24 July
The first Muslim worship in the Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofia) is scheduled to begin July 24, the entrance to the mosque is free for all, stated on Friday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Earlier on Friday, Erdogan signed a decree about the transformation of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul into a mosque and the beginning of Muslim worship there. This became possible after Turkey's Council of state annulled the decision of 1934 the transformation of Hagia Sophia into a Museum.
"Upon completion of the preparatory works are now underway at a rapid pace, we plan on July 24 to open Hagia Sophia for worship to coincide with the Friday prayers," said Erdogan in his address to the nation, broadcast by his press service.
He noted that the entrance to the mosque is free, as in all other mosques in Turkey. "In connection with the deprivation of the status of the Museum we cancel the entrance fee to Hagia Sophia. As in other mosques, doors Hagia Sophia will be open to all - local residents, foreigners, Muslims, representatives of other religions", - said the Turkish President.
The Hagia Sophia was founded by the Christian Emperor Justinian and inaugurated on 27 December 537. Cathedral over a thousand years was the largest Church in the Christian world. After the capture of Constantinople by the Ottomans and the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, the Cathedral was converted into a mosque but since 1934 the building by decree of the founder of the modern Turkish state Kemal Ataturk became a Museum and was included in the world heritage list of UNESCO.