(Image: OZAN KOSE / AFP via Getty Images)

Hagia Sophia – the historical landmark of Istanbul that has remained in the city for over 1,500 years – has been reopened today as a mosque, allowing people to enter and worship.

The place of worship had a colorful past, originally served as an Orthodox Christian cathedral before becoming a mosque after the Ottoman conquest.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site was changed to a museum in 1934, before its status was recently changed again by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier this month.

While it is an extremely happy time for people who can’t wait to pray in such a historic building, there was the question of what would happen to him.

He is a cat who lives in and around Hagia Sophia, made famous after a photo of Barack Obama who gave him a pet hit in 2009.

He’s a sweet gray tabby with crossed green eyes, and although he’s not the only cat hanging around the area, he’s definitely a bit of a local celebrity.

A tour guide named Umut Bahceci created an Instagram for stray dogs and now has over 54,000 followers. Apparently some people come to visit Istanbul simply to see it.

And fortunately, Ibrahim Kalin, spokesman for President Erdogan, told Reuters that he is authorized to stay despite the changes.

“That cat has become very famous and there are others who have not yet become so famous,” he said.

“That cat will be there and all cats will be welcome in our mosques.”

It is believed that Gli was born in Hagia Sofia, so he and his fans will be happy to be able to stay in the place he calls home (together with all his feline friends).

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