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Preplanned City Guides and Travel Itineraries

Hagia Sophia

On this page you find practical information, photos and videos about Hagia Sophia.

Hagia Sophia features in these preplanned City Guides:

1-day Istanbul City Guide3-day Istanbul City Guide5-day Istanbul City Guide

Why visit / Interesting facts:

  • Istanbul's most famous attraction
  • One of the world's architectural wonders

Time required: 90 minutes

Phone: +90 212 522 1750

Opening hours:

Time period Opening hours
Tue - Sun: 9:30am - 4:30pm
Mondays: Closed

Admission:

Ticket type Charge
General: 20 TL

Public transport:

  • Tram Line T1: Sultanahmet stop

Address: Cankurtaran Mh., 34122 Istanbul

Things you need to know:

  • Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya) is an awe-inspiring architecture in Istanbul. First it was built as an Orthodox cathedral, later became a mosque, today it is a museum
  • It incorporated unique elements of both the Byzantine and Ottoman empires and their religions
  • Hagia Sophia was constructed between 532 and 537. It was the largest cathedral of its time
  • Hagia Sophia was the seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople (the "Orthodox Vatican") for almost a thousand years
  • After 1453; Sultan Mehmed II converted the church into a mosque. Islamic elements (mihrab, minbar, four minarets) replaced Christian features (altar, bells, iconostasis)
  • Hagia Sophia remained a mosque until 1931 when it was turned into a museum. Debates are still going on whether it should be a church, a mosque or a museum
  • Having been the principal mosque of Istanbul, many Ottoman mosques, such as the Blue Mosque or the Süleymaniye Mosque, were modeled after Hagia Sophia
  • Its name has nothing to do with the female name, Sophia. Sophia is the Latin phonetic spelling of the Greek word for wisdom

What to do there:

  • Admire the impressive building from the outside
  • Walk around in the former church and enjoy the stunning architecture
  • Head up the stairs to the upper gallery for the splendid Byzantine mosaics

Tips & Insights:

  • Go early to avoid the crowds

 

Fun Activities in Istanbul

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Hagia Sophia features in these preplanned City Guides: