Turkey's Hagia Sophia Mosque draws thousands for Eid prayers

Istanbul's Byzantine-era cathedral was converted back into a mosque two years ago

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Thousands of worshippers flocked to Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque in Istanbul on Monday to join in prayers on the first day of Eid Al Fitr.

Worshippers filled the 6th-century building in Turkey's largest city and the square outside for dawn prayers and then waited for Eid prayers.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan converted the Hagia Sophia — the city’s Byzantine-era cathedral that was turned into a mosque before becoming a museum — back into an Islamic house of worship nearly two years ago.

An easing of Covid-19 restrictions has allowed worshippers to pray in mosques for Ramadan and Eid for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began in 2020. But the joy of communal worship and celebration has been tempered by a surge in global food prices driven by the war in Ukraine.

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Updated: May 02, 2022, 11:36 AM