Greece reopens historic mosque, first time in over a century for Eid celebration

Published: Updated:
Read Mode
100% Font Size
2 min read

Greece on Wednesday reopened a historic mosque in the northern city of Thessaloniki for the first time in over a century to allow prayers marking Eid al-Fitr, the celebration ending Ramadan.

Around 100 people attended prayers at the Yeni Mosque, last used in this capacity in the early 1920s, before a war between Greece and Turkey led to a population exchange that whittled away the city’s Muslim population.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

“We are fortunate that it opened for us,” Ismael Bedredin, a 66-year-old retired furniture maker, told AFP.

“I’ve lived in Thessaloniki for four years and this is the first time I’m given the opportunity to pray with my Muslim family,” added Ali, a 23-year-old Turkish economics student who declined to give his surname.

Greek police guarded the building during the ceremony.

The Yeni Mosque, built in 1902 by Italian architect Vitaliano Poselli, was at the time used by the Donme, Jews who had outwardly converted to Islam.

The two-floor building was briefly used in 1922 to house refugees of the Greco-Turkish War. It later became an archaeological museum and municipal gallery.

Greece is a predominantly Orthodox Christian country, and Muslim places of worship are mainly in Thrace, a region in the northeast of the country near the Greek-Turkish border that is home to a centuries-old Muslim minority.

In Athens, the number of Muslims had been negligible since the Greco-Turkish War, but their numbers rose during the 2015 refugee crisis.

The first official new mosque in Athens opened in November 2020, taking more than a decade to complete after running into strong opposition from the Orthodox Church, as well as from nationalist groups.

Read more:

In Photos: Muslims across the world celebrate Eid al-Fitr

Gazans mark ‘saddest’ Eid with little to celebrate or eat

Moscow concert attack shadows Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr in Russia

Top Content Trending