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Pictures | Sat Jul 25, 2020 | 3:00am IST

Thousands gather at Istanbul's Hagia Sophia for first Friday prayers

Worshippers attend afternoon prayers and visit Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, July 24, 2020. Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan joined huge crowds for the first prayers at Hagia Sophia in nine decades, sealing his ambition to restore Muslim worship at an ancient site long revered in both Christianity and Islam.

REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Worshippers attend afternoon prayers and visit Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, July 24, 2020. Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan joined huge crowds for the first prayers at Hagia Sophia in nine decades, sealing his ambition to restore...more

Worshippers attend afternoon prayers and visit Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, July 24, 2020. Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan joined huge crowds for the first prayers at Hagia Sophia in nine decades, sealing his ambition to restore Muslim worship at an ancient site long revered in both Christianity and Islam. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan attends Friday prayers at Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. A Turkish court annulled Hagia Sophia's status as a museum two weeks ago. Erdogan immediately issued a decree converting it once again to a mosque.

Murat Cetinmuhurdar/PPO/via REUTERS

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan attends Friday prayers at Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. A Turkish court annulled Hagia Sophia's status as a museum two weeks ago. Erdogan immediately issued a decree converting it once again to a mosque. Murat...more

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan attends Friday prayers at Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. A Turkish court annulled Hagia Sophia's status as a museum two weeks ago. Erdogan immediately issued a decree converting it once again to a mosque. Murat Cetinmuhurdar/PPO/via REUTERS
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Women take a selfie as they attend afternoon prayers and visit Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. Hagia Sophia was the largest cathedral in the world for 900 years until its capture by Ottoman Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453, after which it was one of Islam's most exalted mosques for nearly another 500 years. The mosque was converted to a museum in 1934 by modern Turkey's secularist founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Women take a selfie as they attend afternoon prayers and visit Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. Hagia Sophia was the largest cathedral in the world for 900 years until its capture by Ottoman Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453, after which it was...more

Women take a selfie as they attend afternoon prayers and visit Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. Hagia Sophia was the largest cathedral in the world for 900 years until its capture by Ottoman Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453, after which it was one of Islam's most exalted mosques for nearly another 500 years. The mosque was converted to a museum in 1934 by modern Turkey's secularist founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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Muslims attend Friday prayers outside Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, for the first time after it was once again declared a mosque after 86 years, in Istanbul, Turkey, July 24. 
 REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Muslims attend Friday prayers outside Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, for the first time after it was once again declared a mosque after 86 years, in Istanbul, Turkey, July 24. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Muslims attend Friday prayers outside Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, for the first time after it was once again declared a mosque after 86 years, in Istanbul, Turkey, July 24. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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Curtains covering Christian frescoes are pictured at Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque after Friday prayers, July 24. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Curtains covering Christian frescoes are pictured at Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque after Friday prayers, July 24. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Curtains covering Christian frescoes are pictured at Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque after Friday prayers, July 24. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
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People gesture as they wait for the beginning of Friday prayers outside Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

People gesture as they wait for the beginning of Friday prayers outside Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

People gesture as they wait for the beginning of Friday prayers outside Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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Children attend afternoon prayers at Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Children attend afternoon prayers at Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Children attend afternoon prayers at Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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Worshippers attend afternoon prayers and visit Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Worshippers attend afternoon prayers and visit Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Worshippers attend afternoon prayers and visit Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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Women take a selfie as they attend afternoon prayers and visit Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Women take a selfie as they attend afternoon prayers and visit Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Women take a selfie as they attend afternoon prayers and visit Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attends Friday prayers at Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Palace

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attends Friday prayers at Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Palace

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attends Friday prayers at Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Palace
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Muslim women visit Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque after Friday prayers, July 24. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Muslim women visit Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque after Friday prayers, July 24. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Muslim women visit Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque after Friday prayers, July 24. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
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Muslims attend Friday prayers outside Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24.   

REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Muslims attend Friday prayers outside Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Muslims attend Friday prayers outside Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
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A woman holds a flag as she attends afternoon prayers and visits Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

A woman holds a flag as she attends afternoon prayers and visits Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

A woman holds a flag as she attends afternoon prayers and visits Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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A man gestures as people wait for the beginning of Friday prayers outside Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

A man gestures as people wait for the beginning of Friday prayers outside Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

A man gestures as people wait for the beginning of Friday prayers outside Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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People take a selfie as they visit Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque after Friday prayers, July 24. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

People take a selfie as they visit Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque after Friday prayers, July 24. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

People take a selfie as they visit Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque after Friday prayers, July 24. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
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People hold Turkish and Palestinian flags as they wait for the beginning of Friday prayers outside Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

People hold Turkish and Palestinian flags as they wait for the beginning of Friday prayers outside Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

People hold Turkish and Palestinian flags as they wait for the beginning of Friday prayers outside Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
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People pray as they visit Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque after Friday prayers, July 24. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

People pray as they visit Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque after Friday prayers, July 24. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

People pray as they visit Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque after Friday prayers, July 24. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
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People pray as they visit Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque after Friday prayers, July 24. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

People pray as they visit Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque after Friday prayers, July 24. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

People pray as they visit Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque after Friday prayers, July 24. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
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Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan attends Friday prayers at Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24.   Murat Cetinmuhurdar/PPO/via REUTERS

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan attends Friday prayers at Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. Murat Cetinmuhurdar/PPO/via REUTERS

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan attends Friday prayers at Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. Murat Cetinmuhurdar/PPO/via REUTERS
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Worshippers attend afternoon prayers and visit Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Worshippers attend afternoon prayers and visit Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Worshippers attend afternoon prayers and visit Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, July 24. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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Curtains covering Christian frescoes are pictured at Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque after Friday prayers, July 24. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Curtains covering Christian frescoes are pictured at Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque after Friday prayers, July 24. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Curtains covering Christian frescoes are pictured at Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque after Friday prayers, July 24. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
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