Beauty pageant contestants pray at Istanbul holy site
Contestants in the "Miss Model of Turkey" beauty pageant went to the Eyüp Sultan mosque in Istanbul today to pray prior to tomorrow's event.
Twenty-six finalists arrived at the mosque early in the morning to visit the Eyüp Sultan shrine and mosque.
After prayers, the contestants had their photographs taken with people who were visiting the mosque; the latter were reported to have shown great interest in the aspiring models.
Finalist Gaya Göç said they wanted to "pay a visit to Eyüp Sultan on the holy day [of Friday] and pray for a fortunate outcome [in the contest] for all of us."
Another finalist, Hilal Uzun, said she was very happy to have conducted a spiritual visit. "Such visits are not common in beauty pageants," she said. "People look at models in a different way, but we are spiritual people too. Modeling is not just walking on a runway.”
The Eyüp Sultan mosque is located next to the place where Abu Ayyub al-Ansari is believed to be buried. Al-Ansari was the standard bearer of the Prophet Muhammad during the Arab assault on Constantinople in 670 and his supposed final resting place is considered holy by Muslims. The Istanbul district where his tomb is located was named "Eyüp" after him.