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The coronation area in Istanbul’s ancient Hagia Sophia was left exposed when carpeting was laid out inside to prepare the structure for Muslim prayer, Istanbul Culture and Tourism Director Coşkun Yılmaz said.

The former museum was opened to Muslim prayer on July 24 as hundreds joined the first mass prayer in the building after decades.

A square-shaped area measuring 5.65 meters (18.5 feet) on each side, the coronation area displays samples of all the marble used to build the Hagia Sophia, Yılmaz said.

Mosaics of Christian figures in the 15th-century building were covered up with curtains during Muslim worship, and turquoise carpeting was installed to conform with mosque tradition.