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Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque

Mosque in Istanbul, Türkiye

Travel Tips

Best Time to Visit and Avoiding Crowds

Winter offers a mystical view of the city with snow flurries and ice-dusted Bosphorus. 1

Visit on weekdays to avoid crowds, especially on Fridays. 2

Visit early to avoid crowds. Respect the dress code. Don't miss the upper galleries for stunning mosaics. 3

Arrive early to avoid crowds and fully appreciate its beauty. 4

Visit early to avoid crowds. 5

Architectural and Historical Insights

As a museum, it offers insights into both Byzantine and Ottoman empires. Visit outside prayer times. 6

Showcases a blend of Byzantine and Ottoman architectural styles. 7

Originally a Greek Orthodox Church, then a mosque, and now a museum. 8

Explore its architectural genius and the blend of Christian and Islamic traditions. 9

Observe the blending of Byzantine and Ottoman architecture; the mosaics are particularly exquisite. 10

Ticket and Entrance Tips

Buy tickets online to skip the long queues. 11

Free entry as a museum; visit outside prayer times to fully explore the interior. 12

Free entry for children under 8; consider a guided tour to understand its rich history. 13

Muslims enter for free for prayer. Non-Muslims pay 25 euros for entrance and can visit from 09:00 am to 7:30 pm, except Friday noon. Separate entrances for Muslims and non-Muslims. 14

Entrance is free, but cover up appropriately as it's a place of worship. 15

Exploring the Interior and Artistic Highlights

Don't miss the stunning mosaics. 16

Perform the unique ritual at the wishing column for your biggest wish to come true. 17

Don't miss the stunning mosaics and the sweeping views of Istanbul from the upper galleries. 18

Observe the interplay of Christian and Islamic symbols inside. 19

Visitors can explore during prayer times, with designated areas for respectful coexistence. 20

About

History

  • ⛪ Church of Constantius II: The first church on the site was consecrated on 15 February 360 during the reign of Emperor Constantius II.
  • 🔥 Destruction and Rebuilding: The original church was destroyed in riots in 404 and rebuilt by Theodosius II in 415.
  • 🛠️ Justinian's Masterpiece: The current structure was built by Emperor Justinian I and inaugurated on 27 December 537.
  • 🔄 Transformations: Converted into a mosque in 1453 after the Ottoman conquest, then into a museum in 1935, and back to a mosque in 2020.
  • 📜 Controversial Changes: The 2020 reclassification as a mosque was controversial and drew international attention.

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Architecture

  • 🏛️ Dome: The massive dome, 55.6 meters high, is a defining feature and an architectural marvel.
  • 🖼️ Interior: The interior is adorned with polychrome marbles, green and white with purple porphyry, and gold mosaics.
  • 🕌 Minarets: Added during the Ottoman period, the minarets are a significant feature of the mosque.
  • 🪟 Windows: The numerous windows create a unique lighting effect inside the building.
  • 🧱 Materials: Constructed using materials from various parts of the Mediterranean, including columns from Baalbek.

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Visiting Information

  • 🕰️ Hours: Open daily from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM, but hours may vary during religious events.
  • 💸 Admission: Free entry as it is now a mosque, but donations are welcome.
  • 📸 Photography: Allowed, but be respectful of worshippers.
  • 🧥 Dress Code: Modest clothing is required; women should cover their heads.
  • 🛍️ Souvenirs: Available at nearby shops and stalls.

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Nearby Attractions

  • 🕌 Blue Mosque: Located just a short walk away, another iconic mosque in Istanbul.
  • 🏰 Topkapi Palace: The former palace of Ottoman sultans, now a museum.
  • 🌳 Gulhane Park: A beautiful park perfect for a leisurely stroll.
  • 🖼️ Istanbul Archaeology Museums: A group of three museums housing artifacts from various civilizations.
  • 🛍️ Grand Bazaar: One of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world.

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Transportation

  • 🚇 Tram: The T1 tram line stops at Sultanahmet, a short walk from Hagia Sophia.
  • 🚌 Bus: Several bus lines serve the Sultanahmet area.
  • 🚖 Taxi: Taxis are readily available throughout Istanbul.
  • 🚶 Walking: Many attractions are within walking distance in the Sultanahmet district.
  • 🚢 Ferry: Ferries connect various parts of Istanbul, offering a scenic route to Sultanahmet.

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Travel Information
📞   Phone: +90 212 522 17 50
🌐   Website: https://ayasofyacamii.gov.tr/
🕒   Hours: See hours
📍   Address: Sultan Ahmet, Ayasofya Meydanı No - 1, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Türkiye
🔗   Profiles: X (Twitter) Instagram Facebook YouTube

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