The restoration work lasted for four years after it became mosque in 2020. /Photo: AA

Kariye Mosque in Istanbul has opened for worship following a ceremony after an extensive restoration work.

"79 years later, Kariye Mosque was restored by our Foundations General Directorate and reopened for worship,” Safi Arpagus, the mufti of Istanbul, said at the opening ceremony.

The collective opening ceremony of 201 works restored by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism General Directorate of Foundations took place on Monday at the Bestepe Presidential Complex's Congress and Culture Centre with the participation of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The drone footage shows the restored mosque with its surrounding green spaces. /Photo: AA

President Erdogan also participated in the celebration program via a live connection to Kariye Mosque, among the 33 works to be opened in Istanbul.

The building, situated near Istanbul's ancient city walls, is famed for its elaborate mosaics and frescoes. It dates to the 4th century, although the edifice took on its current form in the 11th-12th centuries.

Kariye Mosque in Fatih's Edirnekapi with its new appearance after restoration was filmed with a drone as it is opened today.

Restoration work

The footage, which includes an aerial view of the mosque, draws attention to the surrounding green areas.

After its construction, the building, which was used as a church for many years, was converted into a mosque by Grand Vizier Hadım Ali Pasha (Atik Ali Pasha) in the 16th century during the reign of Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II.

During the reign of Sultan Bayezid, the church was turned into a mosque. /Photo: AA

During the World War II, Kariye Mosque, also known as Chora, was turned into a museum under the Museum Administration in 1948.

After it was returned to its mosque status by a 2020 presidential decree, it is owned by the Foundations General Directorate of Türkiye’s Culture and Tourism Ministry.

Following this decision, the restoration works in the mosque, which began after, were completed in 4 years.

TRT World