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Hagia Sophia Museum / Church (Ayasofya)
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Small-Group Istanbul Tour: Skip-the-Line Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern...
Ranked #1 of 1,033 things to do in Istanbul
Certificate of Excellence
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Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: This architectural marvel displays 30 million gold tiles throughout its interior, and a wide, flat dome which was a bold engineering feat at the time it was constructed in the 6th century.
Level Contributor
201 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 27, 2013 via mobile

This huge ancient church/mosque is a must see. One of the wonders of the ancient world . Pillars from ancient temples,mosaics and huge domes

Visited September 2013
Thank wino873
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Ottawa, Ontario
Level Contributor
38 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Ok historical site, but trumped by nearby Suleymaniye and Sultanahment mosques”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 27, 2013

Large area of construction inside the mosque, with a large scaffolding covering half of of the floorspace.

Not an operational mosque/church. This museum is like visiting the rooms in which important things happened, but not actually seeing the artifacts associated with those important things or learning the history of those things.

Many tour touts harass you outside in the ticket lineup. Be prepared.

Visited September 2013
Thank mturk043
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
197 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“interesting history and decorations,”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 27, 2013

was originally a church, then a Mosque and now a museum. Gold mosaic tile on room and beautiful and being restored. A couple of years ago, some of the original art work was found during a restoration process.

Visited September 2013
Thank StlmanChuck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Belgrade, Serbia
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1,038 reviews
937 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 490 helpful votes
“What stupefied sight to the eyes !”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 27, 2013

Now, I wish to continue my story from my previous review, given the trip from Kusadasi to Istanbul. After the night asleep in the, I may say,so excellent rooms and impressions that I had gotten from our voyage through the Turkey, I had felt at moments that I was myself in some Ottoman Empire Pallace and not in the ordinary hotel. In the morning, we have had an abundant breakfast, and following that, we started for our visit to most momentous places in Istanbul. Obviously, we were guided by our kind Mr.Muhidin, who had made such a grand effort to show us all the "precious stones" of this amazing city.
Going by the large street Ordu Cd and so on through the really one maze of passages in the core of the old town, we had found ourself finally in front of such impressive structure,that is the building of church Hagia Sophia,which is in the same time the museum,that we just had been breathless.
That is the one of the most visited museums and most prominent monuments in the world according to the art and the history of architecture. It has also been called “the eighth wonder of the world” by East Roman Philon as far back as the 6th century.
One can surely remain astound in front of such magnificent building,that seizes You not only
when You behold the same one from outside and perceive the different kinds of architecture, but especially when You enter the church and take a look at the walls, at the arches,at the massive columns,which support the imposant dome, at the pictures frescoed on the huge and high walls.
I remember, that I felt as I was in some centre and around me circled some immense universe.

The nowadays Hagia Sophia is the third construction, done in a different architectural style, even though it occupies the same location as the previous two.
The two most important architects of this period from 527 to 565, that are Anthemios (Tralles) and Isidoros (Miletus) under the order of Emperor Justinianos, constructed the original building.
Each of these two,had hundred architects, working under him,who in turn had 100 workers each working under them.
Construction of monument started on february 532 and completed before long on december 537 .
As a church, it lasted for 916 years but after the conquest of Istanbul by Fatih Sultan Mehmed, the Hagia Sophia was converted into mosque.
Then it was a mosque for 482 years until 1935, when the progressive man Ataturk with his Counsil of Ministers converted it in a museum.

P.S. Hagia Sophia is open for visit every day except Mondays. The winter visiting hours for the Hagia Sophia are from 09.00 to 17.00, with the final entry being at 16.00. During the summer, the visiting hours are between 09.00 and 19.00, with the final entry being at 18.00. Passes are available at the box office in the museum.

Visited August 2013
2 Thank Oleg Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa
Level Contributor
21 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Air of spirituality”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 27, 2013

The Aya Sophia is a really impressive monument to faith, art, power... with the paintings on the dazzlingly high ceilings and layers of art work bearing witness to the history that took place. The marble steps are worn through from probably millions of visitors. Buy tickets for the entrance online to get in quickly and go early or later in the afternoon to avoid waiting in a queue. If there is one place to go to in Istanbul, it is this museum.

Visited May 2013
Thank Estakaalits2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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