Hagia Sophia is one of the most magnificent structures ever built. It was finished in 537 as the largest Christian church in the world and the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453, and turned into a museum in 1935. It has had a long and complicated history and still evokes hotly contested debates between Christians and Muslims, Greeks and Turks. The building, with an interior full of priceless Byzantine mosaics and Islamic artwork, is part of Istanbul’s UNESCO World Heritage listing.
This is one of the must-sees in Istanbul. I’ve been there several times and always discover something new during each visit. It’s possible to visit for 40TL (as of September 2016) or on a Museum Pass İstanbul. An audioguide is available for more information during your visit. Hagia Sophia is closed on Mondays.
The following posts give a complete look at Hagia Sophia:
- Byzantine mosaics
- Interior – Lower Gallery
- Interior – Upper Gallery
- Islamic elements
- Tombs of Sultans
For several different virtual tours of Hagia Sophia, click here.