Hagia Sophia is a 6th century Orthodox patriarchal basilica that was later used as a mosque, and is today a museum

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Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

Hagia Sophia is a 6th century Orthodox patriarchal basilica that was later used as a mosque, and is today a museum.

Hagia Sophia is a 6th century Orthodox patriarchal basilica that was later used as a mosque, and is today a museum. Elements of Byzantine Christian architecture and Islamic features come together harmoniously in this unique and remarkable monument that stands out in Istanbul's skyline. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Historical Areas of Istanbul for its historic and architectural significance and influence.

Considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture, it is famous in particular for its massive dome which utilized pendentives for the first time in its original structure. It is said to have 'changed the history of architecture', and remained the world's largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years after its construction in 532 AD. After the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453 during which it was looted, it was renovated and converted into a mosque. The structure was strengthened, and minarets and mausoleums were added over the years. The restored mosaics of the upper gallery and figurative decorations are some highlights to be seen.


Hours

Sun

9:00

17:00

Mon

Closed

Tue

9:00

17:00

Wed

9:00

17:00

Thu

9:00

17:00

Fri

9:00

17:00

Sat

9:00

17:00

About Hagia Sophia

 Ayasofya Meydanı, Sultanahmet Fatih, Turkey

 +90 212 522 17

 www.ayasofyamuzesi.gov.tr

Hagia Sophia and Nearby Sights on Map

Soğukçeşme Street

A car-free downhill cobbled street just behind Hagia Sophia, with renovated (or totally re-built) traditional wooden houses two- or three-storeys tall typical of Ottoman era, leaning against the outer wall of Topkapi Palace grounds/Gülhane Park

Basilica Cistern

The Basilica Cistern, also known as ‘Yerebatan Cistern’ or Sunken Cistern, is the largest of the several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath Istanbul, with a holding capacity of 80,000 m3

Hagia Irene

Hagia Irene, which you will notice to your left after entering the outer yard of Topkapi Palace, is one of few Byzantine-era cathedrals which was never converted to a mosque (though not used for religious purposes either during the Ottoman period), although access to the interior is not allowed unless you have a ticket to the classical music concerts sometimes taking place inside the building

Gülhane Park

This park was royal hunting grounds in the past

The Museum of Archeology

A must see! One of the best, including a great collection of Sumerian tablets, pieces of the wall of Babylon and Roman marble statues

Valens Aqueduct

A double-storey Roman one built during the reign of Valens (r

Million

While this partially intact marble pillar dating back to 4th century AD may seem unremarkable, it was the starting point of any distance measured within the empire during the Byzantine era, so it may be nice to think that you are in the centre of where all the roads lead to (or, rather, start from)

Sultan Ahmed Mosque

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque is popularly known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior

Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art

Carpets, rugs, calligraphy, pottery

Great Palace Mosaics Museum

Located in Arasta Bazaar, this museum hosts the pavement mosaics of the Byzantine-era Great Palace of Constantinople, which once occupied all the way from Sultanahmet Square, then the Hippodrome, to the coast of the Sea of Marmara