Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Private Guided Tour
- Private group
- Pickup available
- Skip the ticket line
per group up to 8
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.
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!
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!"
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!
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 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.
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!
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!
The tour was amazing! Our guide Oguz Ates was very educated, fluently speaking English, explained the history and all details in very interesting way! Thanks a lot! We were lucky to be only 2 persons in group, maybe because of low tourist winter season. The tour was very nice and interesting!! Don’t shy to buy the tour via GetYourGuide, everything is well organized! Even if you are lost and can’t find the meeting point, you can call the company and they help with everything!
Me and my friends had an amazing day absorbing the vast historical knowledge of our professional guide, the meetup with Naci was smooth and we instantly knew this was going to be a great day of sightseeing and learning about culture, great food and historical tidbits. Highly recommended!
Great tour, very knowledgeable guide. In 7 hours we learned so much about Tuerkey it’s glorious past, challenging present and promising future. Tired but happy we relax now remembering the unforgettable moments our guide created for us.
Mehmet was an amazing guide, he took to all of the top tourists area. He was very knowledgeable about the history of Turkey. He even took me pictures, and was very friendly.
Mehmet, our tour guide, was very professional and informative. Answered all of our questions and showed us all of Istanbul's essentials with great pride.