Hagia Sophia
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Hagia Sophia: Tours & Tickets

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Highlights of Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Private Guided Tour

Duration: 1 day – 2 days
176 Reviews
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Discover the magic of Istanbul on a private 1 or 2-day walking tour. Enjoy a river cruise and guided tour of the city highlights, including the Blue…

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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

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.

Skip the Line: 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!

Great guide and a very personal tour of Hagia Sophia

The guide was fantastic, and it was worth the cost to learn about the Hagia Sophia in detail!

Skip the Line: Hagia Sophia Guided Tour Reviewed by a GetYourGuide Customer, 05/14/2017

Hagia Sophia skip the line tour: The best!

The tour met all our expectations. The lines were too long and "skip the line" worked well! Well worth the money. Hagia Sophia is a fascinating place. It is an eye-opening experience to visit this holy place with a professional guide. You learn many historical things and fascinating stories from the guide. It is never the same as visiting it alone, by yourself. We fell in love with Istanbul thanks to Viaurbis. All in all absolutely recommended!

Skip the Line: Hagia Sophia Guided Tour Reviewed by oliva teresa, 04/22/2017

Awesome Sights combined with history in a nut shell.

I want to express my sincere appreciation to your company about the professional tour guided service received. We enjoyed a full day in the center of Istanbul at 5 different sights and based on our experienced tour guide we did not had to queue at all. Moreover, his given historical facts in combination with current events provided us a real understanding from that period of time.

Highlights of Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Private Guided Tour Reviewed by Ferdinand, 04/15/2017

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