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Little Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

4.7
#11 of 141 in Historic Sites in Istanbul
Historic Site Tourist Spot
Originally built as an octagonal church topped by a large central dome, Little Hagia Sophia inspired the design of Hagia Sophia. Legend has it that Byzantine Emperor Justinian commissioned the church in 527 to honor the patron saints of soldiers, Saints Sergius and Bacchus, who saved him from a death sentence. Take an all-encompassing view of the interior from the gallery. The white walls, once covered in golden mosaics, are now adorned with Arabic calligraphy. Notice the inscription in Greek around the central nave dedicated to the Emperor Justinian, his wife Theodora, and Saint Sergius. The outside court features a small garden, a fountain, several teahouses, bookshops, and calligraphy boutiques. A small cemetery north of the building houses the grave of Hüseyin Ağa, the 16th-century founder of the mosque. Choose to start, finish, or center your holiday on a trip to Little Hagia Sophia by using our Istanbul itinerary planner.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
924 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • Not usually on most group itineries, this delightful little church-cum-mosque is well worth diverting to see. Much smaller and simpler (and older) than its bigger sibling and set in pleasant and peace...  more »
  • I liked Küçük Ayasofya so much I visited it twice during my week-long stay in Istanbul. Watch out for a few monograms of Justinian and Theodora, and there's even a small cross adorning one spot. (The ...  more »
  • Definitely one of my favourite Istanbul camiis. It utilises its Greek origins to the full, and has a simplicity which is in keeping with its lower status. By its very aping of the Aya sofya, it declar...  more »
Google
  • It's fun as a fact, but actually I've never noticed it if was not told about.
  • It is truly a beautiful piece of architecture and colours. Add it to your list of attractions that MUST be visited in Istanbul (huge list!).
  • With so many mosques in Istanbul i would not have discovered this mosque if i was not living in a nearby hotel, so this mosque was discovered as accident. It is small but beautiful. A worth visiting place
  • Fantastic little mosque. So beautiful and peaceful inside. It used to be a church and you can still see some of the Roman scriptures. It's been a place of worship for a long long time. Worth checking out but be warned, it's a tough walk getting back from this place as it's up hill when heading back to the the main square.
  • It was Awesome you should go there

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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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