World Bulletin / News Desk
The Bajrakli Mosque, which was built almost 300 years ago by Ottomans in Belgrade, now capital of Serbia, challenges the passage of time with dignity.
In the centre of Belgrade, the mosque got its name from the flag (Turkish, bayrak) that signalled the call to prayer to other mosques. As the endowment of Sultan Suleiman II, it is the only remaining mosque of the many that once existed in Belgrade and is still full at Friday prayers.
Turkey's ambassador to Belgrade Ali Riza Colak told AA correspondent on Tuesday that as the first worship place Ottomans built in the city, Bajrakli Mosque was priceless. He said that it was not a symbolic mosque but an active Muslim place of worship in Belgrade. Colak added that new worship places were getting opened as the Muslim population grew in the area.
Bajrakli Mosque, the only mosque with minaret, was turned into a Catholic church during the period of Austrian rule (1717-1739). This period also saw the majority of Belgrade's mosques destroyed. Upon the return of the Ottomans, it once again became a mosque. After its restoration in the 19th century, which was undertaken by Serbians, it became the central city mosque.
Muslims currently account for between 5 and 12 percent of the country's total population of roughly 14.2 million.
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