It felt far more crowded than the Blue Mosque next door.
There is an upper gallery to explore and there are some interesting artworks on display.
Outside you can view the early history of the structure.
I've been here a few times and have always looked forward to returning.
We visited many outstanding places during our Istanbul tour but none match the Hagia Sophia. It is a pity our visit was scheduled for the last day of our tour, otherwise we would have returned. There is so much to see and do that one would need two or three visits to commence to appreciate the beauty and content of this magnificent Byzantine Church which is now a mosque.
The Haghia Sophia was built over the site of 2 previous churches and inaugurated by Emperor Justinian in the year 537 AD.
Our tour guide took us through the crowds waiting for entry and then up to the first floor where we obtain a general overview of the mosque. He then explained the history and main facts of the buildiny; to much to absorb at that point of time. We were then given 90 minutes to wander around, take photos, find something to eat etc etc.
Enough time to appreciate the magnificence of the Mosque, and leave with the memory and photos to hopefully return another time.
Little Aya Sophia actually was a bit older that big Hagia Sophia. This one was built in 527 – 536 by order of Emperor Justinian.
It is one of the most significant Byzantine remains in Istanbul, used as church, and now as mosque. As a structure, it is really quite similar to big Aya Sophia. In mosques' yard lovely restaurant is located.
Hagia Sofia or “Church of Holy Wisdom” in Greek is a place, where was a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica for nearly 1000 years. The current form church was designed and built in 532 by the Greek scientists Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles.
At the same place, where Hagia Sofia stands now where were two churches – from year of 330 – Great church and from 415 another one, as a major reconstruction of older one. Later, after big fire, new Hagia Sofia appeared.
Hagia Sofia is an important structure of the World both confessional and architecturally. Firstly, it had significant role for Constantinople and Orthodox World and well as Islam world (from 1453, when it became mosque). Secondly, such big cupola is one of the biggest in the World; what is more, it is the first pendentive cupola in the World. A form of this structure was an example for building many mosques in Islam world (Blue mosque in Istanbul is not exception).
The cost for an entrance was 20 liras. Despite it looks expensive, but really worth, as I will never forget the feeling inside.
I waited a few days before going to visit this place. The first time I saw it, the line was way too long for mee to stand in. I went on another day when I could tolerate the line. The cost was 20 Lira and they gave you a little package of wipes to keep your hands clean. Even though there was a line, it seemed to move fast. The inside is so huge that with all those people milling about, it did not feel stuffy. I took pictures and then headed up to the Upper Leverl. Warning: Please be very careful. The cobbletone walkway is very slippery because of all the tourist walking on them. No Heels. There is no hand-rails to hold onto, just the wall. There is a hand-rail on the other side going down. Over-all it was a pretty impressive museum. Don't forget to get your hand-out. They have them written in several languages.
The Church of Divine Wisdom, Aya Sofya is almost 1,500 years old. All trips to Istanbul start here. Completed in 537 on the site of two previous churches that had previously burnt in succession – those churches had been built in turn on the site of a previous pagan temple – Aya Sofya was the center of Eastern Christianity for almost a thousand years. With the Turkish conquest in 1454, the church became an imperial mosque until 1935 when Atatürk changed the building into the museum it is today.
Cost for foreigners is 20 TL and opening hours are Tue-Sun 0900-1900 (winter 0930-1630). Come early in the day as Aya Sofya gets busier and crazier as the day goes on. On the second floor you can see some of the remaining mosaics that used to cover the walls before the Ottoman conquest. Instead of including a vast array of tips, see my travelogue for a closer look at Aya Sofya if you are interested in a deeper look at this magnificent building.
Adjacent to the mosque, the yard with the usual fountain deserves a visit. Well gardened, it is a succession of small shops with all kind of arts and crafts. Maybe too pricey to shop, it is very interesting to browse.
Once you enter, you will see the most spectacular scene, with the humongous hall with an extra large dome, Christian and Islamic paintings all mixed up. Tickets are for 20 TL including the upper gallery.
Firstly it should be said that Aya Sofya is not open on a Monday.
Secondly, the first time I turned up the queue was so long I would not be surprised if it had run all the way to Greece! I went back 2 hours later and what do you know - no queue at all!!!
Tripods for cameras are not permitted. All bags go through security and if you have one it will be confiscated so, best to leave it at the hotel!
Entrance is 20 lira.
This beautiful building was built y the Romans and was the greatest church in the whole of Christendom. Along came Mehmet (1453) and having successfully conquered he turned it into a mosque. In 1935 Ataturk turned it into a museum.
Due to its function now being that of a museum there is no code of dress i.e no need to cover your head etc...
The beauty of this place cannot be sufficiently described with words and I am quite sure photographs do not do it justice..
Formerly the christian church of Saints Sergius and Bachus, this orthodox church was the model of Hagia Sofia, sharing the same treatment - a conversion to a mosque.
Some details of the original decoration are still present, and though smaller than the big highlight of Istanbul, the combination of all the elements and the dominant white, give this church a surprising beauty and harmony.
The Aya Sofia is the top attraction of Istanbul. This church/mosque has the following to offer:
-Second Hagia Sofya
-Pieces of Second Hagia Sofya
-Burial chamber or Catacomb
-Mosaic of Tughra
-Sarcophagus of Empress Irene
-Inscriptions of 1166 Synod
-Mosaic of Emperor Leo VI
-Marble water jars
-Iconoclastic Crosses in Mosaic
-Angels on Dome and Pendentives
-Mosaic of Patriarchs
-Ottoman Calligraphy Plates
-The Emperor's Throne
-Gathering Place of Muezzin
-Hagia Sofya Library
-Mihrab and its chandeliers
-Mosaic of Mother Mary, Gabriel and stained glass
-Upper Imperial Gallery
-Wooden supports and Column Capitals
-Tomb of Enrico Dandolo
-Empress Zoe Mosaic
-Emperor John II Komnenos Mosaic
-Tomb at desending ramp
In 1608 the Mausoleum for Sultan III Mehmed was contructed after a disign by architect Dalgiç Ahmed Aða. The building is shaped octagonal and was extended to make room for the sarcophagi of the Sultan's daughters. In total there are 26 sarcophagi in this building.
Hagia Sophia (means Holy Wisdom in greek) is one the most important religious sites in the world for the orthodox people, that’s why it’s always on the top of the list for the Greeks that visit the city after the Grand Bazaar :) Of course it’s not anymore an orthodox patriarchal basilica -centuries now since then- because it turned into a mosque from the Turks that conquered Constantinople in 1453. In our days (since 1935) it’s a museum.
In an amazing structure that was erected in the 6th century on the site where 2 other smaller churches of the Holy Wisdom were standing before. It was designed by two greek scientists, Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles.
We spend more than an hour inside but of course we knew that most of holy relics were already gone since 1453 :) It’s amazing to think how this huge structure may look to the people that were living in small houses at that time, by the way Hagia Sophia was the largest cathedral in the world for about 1000 years!
Don’t forget to check the impressive massive dome and some of the remaining mosaics. There was a huge restoration program the last years and we noticed a permanent (?) collection of photographs showing the restored mosaics.
The entrance fee is 10TL
The Hagia Sophia was constructed initially as an Orthodox Christian church, but was later converted to a mosque and is now a museum. Constructed from 532 and 537, the church long served as the cathedral of Constantinople and was the focal point of the Eastern Orthodox Church. For about 1,000 years the Hagia Sofia was the largest church in the world. From 1453, Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks, to 1931 the Hagia Sofia was a mosque. The Islamic minarets were added while under Muslim rule.
The Hagia Sophia is the third church on this site. The first was completed in 360 AD and burned in 404. The second church was finished in 415, and it also burned, this time in 532. Several pieces of the second church were discovered in 1935 and are now on display on the church grounds next to the palace.
It's a museum.In the past it was first a church in Byzantine architecture.It was made by Emperor Justinian between 532 and 537.In 1453, Constantinople was ocupated by the Ottomans and Sultan Mehmed II ordered the building to be turned into a mosque.The bells, altar, iconostasiswere removed, and many of the mosaics were eventually plastered over. The Islamic features - such as the mihrab, the minbar, and the four minarets outside - were added by the Ottomans. When Turkey became a Republic it was converted into a museum in 1935.
Entrance fee:20 TLR(around 10 EUR)