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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 November 2006, 21:52 GMT
In pictures: Pope in Istanbul

The Pope is welcomed by the Mufti of Istanbul and the Imam of the Blue Mosque, Mustafa Cagrici (centre-left)

Pope Benedict XVI has made a historic visit to Istanbul's famous Blue Mosque on a third day of his stay in Turkey.

Pope Benedict XVI (centre) and senior Muslim clerics in the Blue Mosque

Inside the 17th century mosque, the pontiff prayed silently in what was seen as a gesture of reconciliation to the Muslims.

The Pope visits the Blue Mosque shoeless

The Pope took off his shoes before entering the mosque. It marked only the second papal visit - after John Paul II's in 2001 - to a Muslim place of worship.

A Turkish army helicopter patrols over the Blue Mosque prior to the Pope's visit

Security measures in Istanbul were said to be tighter than during US President George W Bush's visit to Turkey in 2004.

Turkish riot police stand in front of the Hagia Sophia museum

Earlier, Benedict visited the nearby Hagia Sophia which was built as a Christian church in the 6th century before becoming a mosque in 1453. It is now a museum.

Pope Benedict XVI and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I kiss each other during a divine liturgy at the Patriarchal Church of St George

The pope began the day by attending a service by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world's 250m Orthodox Christians.

Pope Benedict XVI and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I hold each others hand as they stand on the balcony of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul

The original reason for the pontiff's visit to Turkey was to heal an old rift between the Western and the Eastern rites of Christianity.

Demonstrators protest in Istanbul against the pope's visit to Turkey

But the visit was overshadowed by the Pope's recent comments on Islam which angered the Muslim world. Some 150 people protested against the pontiff's visit on Thursday.

Pope makes Turkish mosque visit
30 Nov 06 |  Europe

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