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

Outstanding service with complete flexibility in agenda.

A great service and the Guide was outstanding, knowledgeable and very flexible. Will use the service again, and if back in the same location (Istanbul and surrounding area) will work with same guide.

Awesome experience. Best of Istanbul. A must.

We had an awesome day. The tour started punctually. We got to visit all the places that were advertised. The guide knew very well everything and helped us with other things we needed and wanted to visit. We had a great lunch. So far the best we have had. Would totally recommend again.

Knowledgeable and friendly guide, beautiful city tour.

I loved everything about the tour. Mehmet was an great guide, knowledgeable about history and about the small details of the city. The tour took us all around the area and we got to see how beautiful the city is and how rich it is in history and culture. I recommend it!

Wonderful experience and most informative.

Our tour guide was great. She was very informative and also gave us time needed to explore on our own. Very helpful
Istanbul Tourist Pass: 3 or 7-Day City Pass Reviewed by Jonathan, 09/09/2016

i highly recommend to everyone, especially if you are with children.

I was in Istanbul from 24 till 27 August '016 with my wife and three children. the guide mr. Murat Aksu was from 8.30 at our hotel, was very nice with a fluent and precise english. Murat had a very good knowledge about Istanbul and his history, also knew some hidden places for parking, breakfast, lunch and what's most important knew best place for baklava. i highly recommend this guide to ever one, especially if you are with children. thank you Mr. Murat,

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Hagia Sophia
Based on 341 reviews by GetYourGuide customers