Hagia Sophia Museum / Church (Ayasofya), Istanbul

4.7
#1 of 5,239 in Things to do in Turkey
Marvel at one of the most significant artistic and architectural achievements in Turkey--and the world--at Hagia Sophia Museum / Church (Ayasofya). Commissioned by the Byzantine emperor in 537, the church was converted into a mosque in the 15th century by Mehmet the Conqueror. Finally, Ataturk declared the site a museum in the 20th century. The transformation of this structure is symbolic of the transformation of the region and its people through centuries of changing empires and governments. This stunning architectural feat is most often noted for its well-preserved mosaics, featuring 30 million gold tiles, and its 6th-century dome. It couldn't be easier to arrange your visit to Hagia Sophia Museum / Church (Ayasofya) and many more Istanbul attractions: make an itinerary online using Inspirock's Istanbul tour itinerary planner .
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Hagia Sophia Museum / Church (Ayasofya) Reviews
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4.7
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  • Very strong architecture, really attractive place to visit in Istanbul. It is more exciting than advertises! Also they play a video in English which could be really informative to visit the place.  more »
  • You can't come to Istanbul and miss this. I would highly recommend a guided tour in order to get the most out of it. A must on your list.  more »
  • It is adjacent to the Sultan Ahmet square Cathedral. Also buy the tickets there are tourists anyway, so it's quite difficult. Inside are some repairs, was crossing the scaffolding. Climb up to the second floor and looks in front of the Blue Mosque.
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  • Very much worth a visit. Officially a museum rather than a mosque, it has its original symbols of Christianity from its first 916 years, as well those of Islam from its subsequent 478 years' history until 1931. Since 1935 it's been a secular museum, so no need to remove shoes or wear a headscarf. The dome itself is magnificent but don't miss the floor of marble slabs, many of which were cut (using stings of silk) from one large rock and laid side by side forming symmetrical patterns. I recommend paying the extra for a guide. Lots of information and you skip the queue.
  • A must visit for first timers in Istanbul. I was in awe all the way from the outside to the inside of the building. Rich with textures and histories and you will just feel wow as you walk slowly and see the magnificent structure and the marble tiles everywhere. As a Muslim, it’s very important to learn the history behind it so that we can learn and appreciate about all religions. It might take a while to queue, so try to be early if you want to visit this place. It’s about 40 LT per person. There might be other people harassing you as you queue though, telling you that they can provide guided tour and you can cut the queue but that’s entirely up to you. They looked a bit shady to me and I just ignore them. But bottom line, have to visit this place at least once in your life. Try to go on weekdays. Weekends is a killer but if you have no other choice, then come by really super early. You won’t regret it. :)
  • There was a long queue to enter this world-famous heritage site. Once I got in, I was disappointed with the amount of scaffolding inside the famous hall. Mind you, it was built in 500AD and the old lady needs maintenance. It was simply breath taking. The size of the hall and the beauty = the ornate images on the wall the glass panes. Words cannot simply describe. You have to visit this great monument, preferably after the renovation. Who knows when it will be completed?
  • A must see when in Istanbul. So must history and such an interesting building, mixing Christian and Islamic art under the same dome. Take your time and really take in the extraordinary marble floors and doorways. The queue to get in can take a while, but I recommend just waiting rather than paying extra for a "tour guide". You can easily see the whole thing at your own pace.
  • I bought the Museum Pass in particular because it included Fast track entry to this. Got there at 9.20. Asked the guards for the fast track entrance and they pointed to the long line and said everyone already has tickets. Ended up waiting 50minutes to get in because so many people (including entire tour groups) were jumping the line and the security did nothing to stop them! Once you get inside the premises on the line with people with tickets and passes, they put half the people who just bought tickets into the same security check as you! So the other half of the people who just bought the tickets actually got in faster than the rest of us! Once you get in, the place is quite beautiful. Although crowded, it does have a special vibe to it. Also, there is a video playing at the entrance of the building which gives a long explanation. Audio guide was 30TL but I didn’t get one. Was it worth the wait? Not for me. Maybe if I had jumped the queues too, I would have been in a better frame of mind. Part of the dome was also under renovation, blocking part of the view.
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