Hagia Sophia Museum / Church (Ayasofya), Istanbul

4.6
#1 of 3,425 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. Plan to visit Hagia Sophia Museum / Church (Ayasofya) and other customer-reviewed, writer-recommended Istanbul attractions using our Istanbul trip itinerary maker.
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  • August 20, 2017
    For those not knowing the history and significance of Aya Sophia: negotiate a decent price for a guide who will most certainly approach whilst waiting in the ticket queue. For those not needing guidan...  more »
  • August 20, 2017
    If you enjoy the great history, the Byzantine stories and more contemporary, this place is for you... it is almost essential to have an official guide on site (highly recommended)
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  • August 20, 2017
    That's certainly the cycling-at different times, it was the center of various religions. Be sure to visit during walks or trips on the udivljajushhemu tourists to the city.
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  • Art, history, architecture, the Church of Holy Wisdom, one of the greatest monuments created by the world's most talented engineers. My young son and I are now reading books about the cathedral that turned into a mosque. We are watching videos about art history. I am so glad that he is learning the history of Byzantine in Istanbul, Turkey. We hope to return soon. Turkey has many wonderful treasurers, but I would travel to Istanbul just to see the Hagia Sophia if I only had a day to spend inside the city.
  • Very interesting place, very special. A must. I hired one of the tour guides. He was okay, somewhat informative, and allowed me to skip the line, though it seemed somewhat pricey for the 30 minutes or so that he was with me. I can't recommend for nor against getting a tour guide. There's a nice view towards the Blue Mosque from the upper gallery, but it's easy to miss. Well worth the visit!
  • Very interesting, fascinating place which has been a church, mosque in different time periods and now it's a museum. It gives you the deep insight into the history of Turkey. The architecture of the building doesn't leave anyone unimpressed. Must visit place for every tourist
  • Get a tour guide! Generally they are not very expensive and make this experience so much more meaningful. A tour guide will explain and point out many historical details that you would otherwise miss. The Hagia Sophia is full of rich history and should be a must on your Istanbul tour list.
  • Ayasofya (The Hagia Sophia) is the one of the important symbols of Istanbul. It should be on the "Must-See List" of the people who visit the city. The inside of the building has a very impressive atmosphere. Follow the queue, buy your ticket and enjoy the museum 😊

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The bustling downtown core of old Istanbul is the popular choice among tourists wanting a short walking distance to the city's biggest attractions. Here you'll find hostel-style accommodations and reasonably priced and traditionally decorated hotels, as well as bed and breakfasts and inns with views overlooking the sea. Though often the most affordable, accommodations in the old city can be very overrun with tourists and street solicitors. If you seek a more relaxed stay, consider lodging near Taksim Square. This new, trendy neighborhood is a short 15-20 minute ride from the old city, but puts you closer to restaurants, shopping, and nightlife. Though the newer area of the city is a bit more upscale, you'll also find moderately priced hotels and some hostels. Look for luxury hotels in the western suburbs close to the airport, overlooking the banks of Bosphorus.
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