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Blue Mosque opens doors for worshippers after 5-year restoration

April 21, 2023 at 4:25 pm

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during re-opening ceremony of Sultanahmet Mosque (The Blue Mosque) in Istanbul, Turkiye on April 21, 2023 [Mustafa Kamacı/Anadolu Agency]

Istanbul’s Blue Mosque reopened fully on Friday, the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, following a restoration effort that began in 2018, reports Anadolu Agency.

Attending the mosque’s opening ceremony, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described it as “one of the most important symbols of Istanbul.”

In an interview with Anadolu, Hayrullah Celebi, regional manager of the Foundations Directorate General, said the directorate follows a principle of keeping mosques undergoing restoration open to worship and visit.

Celebi said that aside from a brief five-month closure over the past five years, the Blue Mosque has remained in operation, albeit with limited capacity.

This mosque called Sultanahmet Camii in Turkish, was built by Sultan Ahmet I in 1609-1616 in the square carrying his name in Istanbul, the Ottoman capital. It is the only mosque in Türkiye with six minarets. Europeans call it the “Blue Mosque” owing to its beautiful blue, green, and white tiles.​​​​​​​

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