The Arab Mosque was built in 717 after commander Mesleme Bin Abdulmelik agreed with then Byzantine Emperor Leon to erect an Islamic building in Galata…

Arab Mosque: First mosque in Istanbul!

The Arab Mosque was built in 717 after commander Mesleme Bin Abdulmelik agreed with then Byzantine Emperor Leon to erect an Islamic building in Galata

At the heart of corner shops and a busy district lies Istanbul’s first mosque, built in 717 by a Muslim army which arrived at the door of the Byzantine Empire to conquer renowned Constantinople.

The Arab Mosque, from where the first call to prayer in the empire was heard, is now increasingly becoming an attraction for many local and foreign tourists.

“Following the last renovation, we distributed many leaflets and opened a website to popularize this mosque,” imam Cafer Talan told an AA correspondent.

Unable to hide his smile while mentioning local and foreign tourists, Talan said, “They usually visit on weekends…They usually want to know why it is called Arab Mosque,” Talan said.

Even a Belarussian priest visited the mosque and prayed during the azan (call to prayer), the mosque’s security guard Abdul Cepnioglu said, explaining that many Christians visit while schools organize tours.

However, the imam laments that many people working at surrounding shops are unaware of the treasure around them. “When I ask them when this mosque was built, they do not know. They are too busy with their daily work.”

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