President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reopened Istanbul’s iconic Blue Mosque on Friday, the first day of the Muslim holiday of Ramadan Bayram, also known as Eid al-Fitr, following a restoration effort that began in 2018.
Attending the mosque’s opening ceremony, Erdoğan described it as “one of the most important symbols of Istanbul.”
Hayrullah Çelebi, regional manager of the Foundations Directorate General, told Anadolu Agency (AA) the directorate follows a principle of keeping mosques undergoing restoration open to worship and visits.
Çelebi 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.
The mosque, called Sultanahmet Camii in Turkish, was built by Ottoman Sultan Ahmet I between 1609 and 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.