Hagia Sophia was once a Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal cathedral, which later became an Ottoman imperial mosque and is now a world-famous museum that sites in the heartland of Istanbul, Turkey. Established in 537 AD at the start of the Middle Ages, the attraction was famous particularly for its enormous dome. Hagia Sophia is a sublime architectural beauty along with being a magnanimous monument both for Ottoman Empires as well as Byzantine. As such, Hagia Sophia has forever been the most precious element of its time.
Explore the Historic, Epic Cultural Delights at Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
1. Virgin Mary Mosaic
Right on top of the main exit doorway at the spectacular Hagia Sophia, this outstanding 11th-century mosaic portrays the Virgin Mary verged by Byzantine Emperors Justinian to her left and Constantine the Great to her right. At this world-famous tourist attraction, Constantine is providing the virgin Constantinople, whereas Justinian is providing her the Hagia Sophia.
2. Ottoman Tombs
In the Hagia Sophia complex, right outside the main exit doorway from the central building, next to the unique baptistery, five sultans are laid to rest. All of the tombs here have extravagant interiors that flaunt İznik tile work.
3. Weeping Column
One of the most popular components of Hagia Sophia is this column in the north aisle of the eminent Imperial Door. This column is believed to have been blessed by globally-renowned St. Gregory the Miracle Worker, and placing a finger in the hole, which is believed to miraculously cure all diseases, is one of the fascinating things to do here.
4. Tomb of Princess
The tomb of Princes prides on having a very plain and phenomenal external view and is situated next to the tomb of Sultan Murat II. The tomb has a dynamic dome, limestone covered walls, and brick covered floor. From the outside, it looks like an octagonal structure but is quadrilateral from within. The entrance of the tomb is exceptionally decorated with gorgeous interlocking wooden laths in spectacular geometrical shapes. The interior walls are adorned with hand-drawn ornaments, plant motifs, flowers and ribbons in baskets.
5. Gallery Area
There are numerous spectacular attractions for you to explore in and around Hagia Sophia. While you have the time of your life exploring the quintessential combination of Christian and Islamic tradition. The history of this place is as epic as its architecture and make sure you explore it well before moving out. Visit the gallery area and find time to watch the short film describing the glorious history of Hagia Sophia. The gallery area also features various well-preserved paintings revealing the historical traits of Christianity as well as Islam at Hagia Sophia.
How to Get Tickets?
You can either buy an e-ticket for the Hagia Sophia museum or get them directly from the ticket counter at the entrance. The queues are not big enough and you can grab a ticket in some 15 minutes.
How To Get Around?
Explore the place on foot.
What Should I Wear?
Istanbul's Hagia Sophia is a rare location for cultural tourism that features a splendid confluence of Islamic as well as Christian history and cultural heritage. Being a religious Islamic location, care needs to be taken in terms of what you wear. Women must cover their arms, hair, and legs. Prefer loose-fitting clothes that do not vaguely cling to your form. Consider avoiding not just jeans but leggings and other tight-fitting clothes, too! Men must also cover their legs. Choose loose clothes and avoid vests and singlets.
Best Time to Visit
Try avoiding Friday morning since the Blue Mosque remains closed until 2:30 pm on Fridays. During visiting hours, Hagia Sophia sees a drastically larger crowd on Friday as compared to other days of the week. April to May and September to October are the busiest months for the visit.
Will I Need a Guide?
While you do not necessarily need a guide to visit or move around phenomenal cultural delights at Hagia Sophia, a good guide can help accentuate your experience, explain the architecture, reveal the history, inform you of the codes, and ultimately, add value to your visit. Transportation is easy from all major nearby locations and all the required information is available on this website.
How To Get There?
Istanbul can be reached by flight, cab, bus, car, taxi, or train, depending upon your location. While cab and train are the best options to travel from different cities across Turkey, Istanbul Atatürk Airport is the largest aircraft movement centers in Turkey that receive daily flights from almost all major international airports around the world. Convenient and easy accommodation is available at hotels near the airport and the hotel staff can easily help you hire the right transportation to reach Hagia Sophia and back.
Follow all the rules. Do not throw waste on the floor.