Hagia Sophia
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Hagia Sophia: Tours & Tickets

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5 historical facts about the Hagia Sophia

This magnificent Byzantine church turned Ottoman mosque was made a museum in 1935 by Kemal Ataturk, the father of the Turkish Republic. It's one of Istanbul's proudest icons, so here are five things that shaped this showcase of Christian and Islamic Empires.

As a site of worship it predates history

The grand church was converted to a mosque after the Ottoman conquest in 1453. However, the site has also been home to two previous churches and a Pagan temple!

It was built to eclipse the Temple of Solomon

Justinian I strained the breadth of his Empire to have the Hagia Sophia built in 537. On its completion he's said to have proudly boasted, "Oh Solomon, I have surpassed thee!"

Many of its treasures are in Venice

Not making it to Jerusalem, the Venetian-led Fourth Crusaders instead took Constantinople. Saint Mark's Basilica in Venice still houses many of the spoils!

It's taken one hell of a beating!

As well as being sacked in the Fourth Crusade, the Hagia Sophia's heavy dome has collapsed several times due to earthquakes. It wasn't completely stabilized until 1859!

The Ottomans changed its appearance drastically

The Hagia Sophia became a mosque in 1453, when the Ottomans seized Constantinople. Its many alterations included the erection of minarets and the purging of Christian iconography.

Hagia Sophia: Our Tips

What are the opening times?

You can visit the Hagia Sophia between the hours of 9:00AM and 7:00PM from April 15th to September 31st, and between 9:00AM and 5:00PM from October 1st to April 14th. It is closed in the early days of Ramadan and Eid al-Adha. Book tickets in advance to avoid the queues!

How to get there?

The Hagia Sophia is just a short walk from the Sultanahment metro and tram stops. Close to many of Istanbul's historic attractions, it's also covered on most city walking tours!

Good to Know

  • When to visit
    9:00AM to 5:00PM in the winter, 9:00AM to 7:00PM in the summer. Check holiday schedules to avoid closures.
  • What is the price?
    The ticket price is 30 TRY, which is roughly $11.
  • Will I need a guide?
    It will definitely help. Might be worth it to check out our best-selling tours.
  • How to get there
    Take the metro or tram to the Sultanahment stop.
  • Additional tips

    • Book tickets in advance to avoid the queues!

What People Are Saying about Hagia Sophia

The tour was very informative and the places we visited were awesome.

The tour operator was very helpful and professional. He has excellent knowledge of the places we visited and explains the historical significance of each place in details.

Full Day Istanbul Guided Tour with Lunch Reviewed by Jose Abner, 02/13/2018

Ms. Sevilay Tokmak is an amazing guide knows job and very helpful

She took a full day tour fir few of the landmarks in Istanbul and walk tirelessly fir the whole day end of the tour she helped everyone whatever they need at the end too. Will recommend her for all my friends.

Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia & More: Istanbul City Tour Reviewed by Karikalan S, 02/10/2018

guided tour is an easy and fun way to enjoy a historical city

Istanbul is a city with lots to offer for tourists, how to max the tour? we booked private guided Istanbul day tour. best and easy way to enjoy Istanbul

Istanbul: Private Tailor-Made Sightseeing Tour Reviewed by Peter, 01/14/2018

A guided tour that makes you feel the history of Hagia Sophia

Our guide had a brilliant knowledge of Byzantine history and the history of Ayasofya. He told funny stories throughout the tour and made sure to show us details such as the viking inscriptions (great fun for us Norwegians). He was passionate about the place and did an effort to make us passionate as well. It was a lovely tour very much appreciated.

Istanbul: Hagia Sophia Guided Tour Reviewed by a GetYourGuide Customer, 05/29/2017

Saban Sezer is an excellent guide giving us an great tour of Istanbul.

Our tour was very efficient and flexible. We had only one day in Istanbul and we saw the major sites of interest with excellent information. Our guide, Saban Sezer had great knowledge of the city and and very fine sense of humor. That made for a very informative, interesting and totally enjoyable day. He even arranged for our transportation around the city and for our return to the airport at the end of the day. In short a the experience was everything that one could wish for. Thank you Saban!

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