Millions of Muslims will offer their first special evening Ramadan prayer called Tarawih Friday, which will then continue throughout the holy month.

Ramadan is believed to be a time of intense spirituality, when the believers are surrounded by angels, the gates of heaven are open, and Allah's blessings and mercy are abundant. But it is also a time of great excitement, filling the cities, especially Istanbul events calendar with jubilant festivities bringing the city to life when the sun goes down.

Fasting, held from dawn to dusk during Ramadan, is one of the Five Pillars [fundamental religious duties] of Islam. It is a time of self-examination and increased religious devotion.

There is also a holy night called Laylat al-Qadr, which means 'Night of Power', when the first verses of the Qur'an were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.

Muslims are instructed to seek the Night of Power during the last ten days of Ramadan, particularly on the odd numbered nights.

It is reported that the Prophet said, "Whoever stays up (in prayer and remembrance of Allah) on the Night of Qadr, fully believing (in Allah's promise of reward) and hoping to seek reward, he shall be forgiven for his past sins."

Muslims in Turkey will begin fasting on Saturday.

Anadolu Agency