ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
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.