For a while, Hagia Sophia has been enchanting tourists not only for its historical structure but also for its beautiful azan
In Hagia Sophia, the noon and mid-afternoon azan is recited by three muezzins alternately, attendants of Yeni Cami, Laleli and Beyazıt mosques. When they initiate reciting, tourists who came to Sultanahmet from all over the world go to Hagia Sophia for both listening azan and meeting the muezzins. For a while, Hagia Sophia has been enchanting tourists not only for its historical structure but also for its beautiful azan.
If you come by Sultanahmet square certainly listen to the noon and mid-afternoon azan. The azan being recited mutually by Hagia Sophia and Sultanahmet Mosques Imams will inebriate you. In addition, you will witness that the azan being recited mutually by two muezzins not only charms you but also attracts too many tourists passing by and you will listen to it standin in awe. If you wonder why you hadn’t ever listened to that voice before when the azan finished, let us explain its history:
As everybody knows, Hagia Sophia, has been converted into a mosque from church right after the conquest of Istanbul by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453. The mosque has been converted into a museum by means of a new regulation in 1934. This magnificent temple which has the admiration of the world, has lost its museum
identity in due course. Süleyman Demirel was the first to open the little Hunkar Mahfili (gathering-place for the sultan) outside of the mosque. Even though this part was a very little place in proportion to the mosque itself, it has been a great step for muslims. Since that day, in this part of Hagia Sophia, azan was reciting quietly and the five time prayer performing. Until the last april …
The Hilye-i Sherif exposition has changed the fate of this little place, which took place in the last april as part of the Holy Birth Week activities. Because the foreign tourists who came to see the exposition of Hilye-i Sherif entitled as ‘Lisan-ı Hat ile Aşk-ı Nebi’(the Love for the Prophet by the Language of Calligraphy’ explaining the appearance and characteristics of Hz. Muhammed, started to ask questions about Islam, the Mufti, planning to make a study which will affect them spiritually, has appointed three muezzins from three different mosques of Istanbul where the azan is recited best, to this part of Hagia Sophia in order to recite the azans of noon and mid-afternoon. Now as Yunus Emre has it, three islamic bulbuls reciting azans that enchant everyone. Musa Çetintaş from Laleli Mosque, Abdullah Yılmaz from Beyazıt Mosque, Şaban Calayoğlu from Yeni Mosque comes to Hagia Sophia to recite for two times. Three muezzins recite in Hagia Sophia in turn. The other times continue to be recited by the previous muezzin of Hagia Sophia.
TOURISTS LISTENING TO AZAN
Abdullah Yılmaz, says that he has been reciting at tune hejaz on heavy demand for two times a day and tourists are affected by the
azan at this tone and adds: "When I start reciting, tourists surround me. They compliment me telling that I have a very beautiful voice. Even, they listen with respect until the azan finishes. There are some who want to take photo together as well. They send my photo and send me back via e-mail.” Abdullah Yılmaz tells that foreing tourists don’t object to azan in Hagia Sophia, on the contrary they are very content. Yılmaz shares his observations with us " We assume that Europe has its eyes on Hagia Sophia, if opened to pray non-muslims will react. But they don’t have such a demand. On the contrary we are much concerned than them". Mentioning that demands on openin Hagia Sophia to pray have increased, Yılmaz stated that it is especially the nonreligious who shows interest on azan and enchantedly comes to pray. Expressing that the tourists are greatly interested in azan voice and not only that, they have been firing questions him, Yılmaz, said; "They ask generally about my voice. They demand the meaning of mutual reciting and I explain”.