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HomeMuslim WorldEuropeHistoric Mosque in Thessaloniki Reopens for Eid Prayers After Decades

Historic Mosque in Thessaloniki Reopens for Eid Prayers After Decades

11 Apr. 24

In a remarkable moment of cultural revival, Thessaloniki’s historic Yeni Cami, once a center for Jewish converts to Islam, welcomed worshipers for Eid al-Fitr prayers, marking the end of Ramadan. This occasion, the first in nearly a century, symbolizes a renewed embrace of diversity and unity in Greece’s second-largest city.

The Yeni Cami, designed by Italian architect Vitaliano Poselli and completed in 1902, ceased functioning as a mosque in the 1920s. It later served as a refuge for refugees and an archaeological museum before being repurposed as a municipal cultural exhibition venue. Now, adorned with Stars of David reflecting its heritage, the mosque has regained its original purpose for the Eid celebrations.

Approximately 70 attendees, including members of Greece’s Muslim minority, visiting tourists from Türkiye, students, and local refugees, gathered for the morning prayers. Ismael Bedredin, a resident of Thessaloniki for over six decades, expressed joy at discovering the mosque’s existence, previously unknown to him.

Imam Taha Abdelgalil, who led the prayers, emphasized the significance of reopening the Yeni Cami as a gesture of inclusivity and national pride. This event underscores the evolving landscape of religious tolerance in Greece, where Orthodox Christianity predominates.

For Indonesian student Prasherly Anura Dinda, studying in Thessaloniki, the reopening of the mosque provided a comforting sense of community during Ramadan, away from her homeland.

Hilmi Yasaroglou, another member of Greece’s Muslim minority, echoed sentiments of peace and unity, celebrating the occasion as a beacon of hope.

The return of prayers to the Yeni Cami after decades resonates as a symbol of reconciliation and understanding, highlighting the rich tapestry of Thessaloniki’s multicultural history.

The reopening of the Yeni Cami represents a step forward in the affirmation of religious diversity and peaceful coexistence within the vibrant fabric of Thessaloniki.

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