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ARCHAEOLOGY > Deputy prime minister reopens Istanbul's Arab Mosque

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The Arab Mosque, built in 717 by Muslim armies who came to conquer Istanbul, is reopened for worship with a ceremony led by Deputy Premier Bülent Arınç. DHA photo

The Arab Mosque, built in 717 by Muslim armies who came to conquer Istanbul, is reopened for worship with a ceremony led by Deputy Premier Bülent Arınç. DHA photo

Istanbul’s oldest mosque, the Arab Mosque, has been reopened for worship at a ceremony led by Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç.

Over the past 10 years, the General Directorate of Foundations has restored many of Istanbul’s ancestral keepsakes, including nearly 4,000 mosques, social complexes, alms houses and hostels, Arınç said.

Arınç said the Arab Mosque, which was built in 717 by Muslim armies who came to conquer Istanbul, was a “unique building” reminiscent of other mosques restored by the directorate like the Fatih, Süleymaniye, Mihrimah Sultan, Pertevniyal Sultan, Yavuz Selim and Kılıç Ali mosques.

Arınç said that when he first heard about the Arab Mosque did not exactly where it was. “I came to Karaköy, but I hesitated when I saw that the great mosque [was sitting] among the stores. We should integrate that great artifact with the Golden Horn,” he said.

Iraqi Parliamentary Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi also attended the reopening ceremony for the mosque, Arınç said.

Arınç also said the government was planning to reopen the Trabzon Hagia Sophia Mosque.

July/24/2012

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READER COMMENTS

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Benjamin Anderson

7/29/2012 6:53:37 PM

According to the legend a mosque was built on the site of the present-day Arap Camii by the Arab armies during the siege of 717 (AD). However that may be - certainly no-one (besides Hürriyet) believes that the Arap Camii was built in 717, or as a mosque. It was of course built by the Dominicans as a church in the 14th century. We eagerly await further creative reporting upon the occasion of the re-opening of the Hagia Sophia in Trabzon.

Rainer Brömer

7/28/2012 10:51:51 PM

What are you writing about? As your own colleagues from Radikal pointed out, this building was erected as a church in the 14th century, long before the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. The hicri year 717 corresponds to the Gregorian 1317, and no Muslims built mosques or anything else on the Golden Horn. When Arınç first heard about it, he may not have known where it was, but it seems he still has no clue what it is, holding the oldest known Renaissance frescoes (see ntv Tarih sayı 39)
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