Hagia Sophia

USER RATING: 3 votes

Hagia Sophia HISTORY

The Hagia Sophia, or ‘Ayasofya’ in Turkish, is a world famous sixth century church turned mosque in Istanbul, which now operates as a museum.

Whilst the original Hagia Sofia was built in the fourth century AD by Constantine the Great, very little remains of this structure nor the one built after it in the fifth century. The current building dates back to between 532 and 537 AD, during which time it was constructed under the order of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian.

The architects Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles designed the Hagia Sophia in the Byzantine style, with typical features such as its impressive dome, and Hagia Sophia served as a central religious home for the Eastern Orthodox Church. The building was converted to a mosque in 1453 under the orders of Sultan Mehmed II when Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks and thus it remained until 1935, when it became a museum.

However, it was during its time as a mosque that several dominant architectural features were added, such as the minarets at each of its four corners and the mihrab. Visitors to Hagia Sophia can view remnants of the first two Hagias Sophias as well as touring the current building with its stunning mosaics and ornate Muslim altars and chapels.

Outside, cannonballs used by Mehmet the Conqueror during his invasion of the city line the paths and there is an eighteenth century fountain for ritual ablutions. Hagia Sophia is a beautiful mixture of Muslim and Christian influences and architecture, including the Byzantine mosaics, which can only really be seen in the higher galleries for a further fee. This site also features as one of our Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Turkey.

Hagia Sophia TOURIST INFORMATION

DIRECTIONS TO Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia is near the Sultanahmet tram station and close to Topkapi Palace.

LOCAL AMENITIES

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Hagia Sophia OPENING TIMES AND TICKET PRICES

Hagia Sophia Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, 9am to 7pm (5pm winter). Admission costs 25TL and extra to go up to the higher gallery.

Hagia Sophia HISTORIC INFORMATION

NAME: Hagia Sophia
CONTINENT: MIDDLE-EAST
Alt Name: Ayasofya
Country: Turkey
Sub-Region: -
Date: 500AD - 599AD
City/Town: Istanbul
Figure: Justinian
Resorts: Istanbul,

CONTACT DETAILS

Hagia Sophia ADDRESS

Hagia Sophia Museum, Eminönü, 34122 Cankurtaran, Turkey

Hagia Sophia PHONE NUMBER

0 212 522 1750

User Comments

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France Lacoursiere 04 Feb, 2014

The richness of the Christian mosaics and the finesse of the Ottoman lacework and arabesques is just stunning! It's architectural plan makes it Unique. They were restoring the dome when I went few years back. And I thought it was really worth the entrance fee.

Jonathan White 21 May, 2012

We visited the Hagia Sophia in Jul 2011 and it was terrific - busy but definitely worth seeing. Amazing to think it has a history stretching back so far!