For the first time since 1934, Friday prayers have been held in Istanbul's Hagia Sophia post-conversion into a mosque. Worshippers showed up in massive numbers, including Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The historical Hagia Sophia in Istanbul has reopened its doors as a mosque. 

An estimated 350,000 people, including Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, attended the first Friday prayer in 86 years after the building was reverted to a mosque by the Council of State annulment of its museum status. 

Before the Friday prayers, Erdogan recited passages from the Quran inside the reopened mosque.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site was a church for nearly 1,000 years and then served as a mosque for 500 years and turned into a museum in 1934.

Here are some glimpses of its first Friday as the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque:

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends prayer at the Hagia Sophia Mosque, which was opened to worship after 86 years on July 24, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends prayer at the Hagia Sophia Mosque, which was opened to worship after 86 years on July 24, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (AA)

At least four muezzins from the mosque’s four minarets recited the adhan, or call to the prayer, and before the people started the Friday worship.

Erdogan said some 350,000 people attended the service in Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque.

People perform Friday prayer inside the newly converted Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque alongside Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul, Turkey on July 24, 2020.
People perform Friday prayer inside the newly converted Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque alongside Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul, Turkey on July 24, 2020. (AA)

Since its construction in 537 the building has undergone several changes. 

While this city was known as Constantinople, a series of earthquakes damaged different parts of the Hagia Sophia and its main dome. 

Byzantine emperors ordered restoration works.

People perform Friday Prayer, which is performed for the first time after 86 years, outside of the Hagia Sophia Mosque on July 24, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey.
People perform Friday Prayer, which is performed for the first time after 86 years, outside of the Hagia Sophia Mosque on July 24, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (AA)

After the Ottoman conquest in 1453 and the building's conversion into a mosque, minarets were erected, including the ones in the western end of the building designed by Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan.

People perform Friday Prayer for the first time after 86 years outside of the Hagia Sophia Mosque on July 24, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey.
People perform Friday Prayer for the first time after 86 years outside of the Hagia Sophia Mosque on July 24, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (AA)

In 1935, the founder and first president of the Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Ataturk ordered the building to be converted into a museum. 

A Turkish police officer walks with his gun on the dome as a muezzin calls for Friday prayers on a minaret of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey, July 24, 2020.
A Turkish police officer walks with his gun on the dome as a muezzin calls for Friday prayers on a minaret of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey, July 24, 2020. (AP)

An American archaeologist called Thomas Whittmore led the preservation and restoration work of the Byzantine mosaics and other elements seen in the building today.

Women visit Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, and walk on new carpet laid down for prayer in Istanbul, Turkey on July 24, 2020.
Women visit Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, and walk on new carpet laid down for prayer in Istanbul, Turkey on July 24, 2020. (AA)

Erdogan said on Friday that specialists from the Culture and Tourism Ministry would conduct restoration efforts both inside the Hagia Sophia and in its surrounding area.

People walk inside Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque and take pictures in Istanbul, Turkey on July 24, 2020.
People walk inside Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque and take pictures in Istanbul, Turkey on July 24, 2020. (AA)
Source: TRTWorld and agencies