The Hagia Sophia Mosque is one of the most beautiful and famous unique architectural symbols in Istanbul, as it is a living example of Byzantine architecture, and for about thousands of years this temple was considered to be the largest church in the world.

Hagia Sophia became the largest church in the world and showed the world the cultural and religious value of Istanbul. After the conquest of Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1453 by Sultan Mehmed II, the church was converted into a mosque, and it remained like this until it was converted into a museum after the proclamation of the Turkish Republic and Ataturk’s coming to power.

Hagia Sophia

In 1985, the UNESCO World Heritage Organization listed Hagia Sophia as a World Heritage Site.

A quick look at the history of the Hagia Sophia Mosque in Istanbul

The Temple was built by order of Constantine II, the Byzantine Emperor, in 360 AD, and Istanbul was then known as Constantinople, where it was the center of the Byzantine Empire.

The church was named as the Hagia Sophia, but after a few years the fire broke out in the chuech and its surrounding areas, and the temple was badly damaged during this time. The Hagia Sophia was rebuilt in the sixth century, and was reopened to the public.

Hagia Sophia inside

In the year 405 AD, several sections were added, the most important of which were the five altars. In 532 AD, the Church was destroyed again due to the famous Battle of Nika, which destroyed the present Istanbul to the ground. Archaeologists later discovered the remains of Hagia Sophia to find the lower floors of the building, which are now open to the public.

In the fifteenth century, after several years of war between Muslims and the Byzantine Empire, under the leadership of the Ottoman king Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror, Constantinople was occupied by Muslims. Constantinople became the center of the Ottoman caliphate and was renamed Islamabad, and four minarets were built and it was converted into a mosque.

Hagia Sophia

Under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the Mosque has taken on a new shape in the new era, by turning it into a Museum.

Hagia Sophia building in Istanbul

The dome of this mosque is 56 meters above the ground and 33 meters in diameter. It is located on the four main pillars. The dome is considered one of the most important parts of this mosque that attracts attention even before entering it. The reason behind the high rise of the building was the tendency of the dome builders to show the concept of attachment and closeness to the sky and God.

Hagia Sophia dome

It should be noted that in the architecture of the Hagia Sophia mosque, the arches and columns are very beautifully coordinated, and the impressive four pillars, which resemble the base of the elephant, carry the four arches of the mosque including the dome.

There are 40 windows nextin the leg of the dome in the mosque, where sunlight shines to the building and the dome is 18 meters deep.

Another reason for the importance of Hagia Sophia is that the architect Sinan, one of the most famous architects of the Ottoman period, worked on it during the Ottoman era and rebuilt many parts of it. until the Hagia Sophia Museum has become a symbol of Istanbul and perhaps Turkey, and a source of pride for the Turkish people.

Hagia Sophia

If you visit this mosque, you will not only find a large hall of worship, as you will see a magnificent building consisting of various parts:

The altar:

It does not matter if you consider the Hagia Sophia a church or a mosque, in both cases the altar will be the most important part of it. To see the Golden altar, you must go to the southeast. There are candlesticks on either side of the altar, brought by the King of Hungary.

Hagia Sophia arches
The tiles:

One of the highlights of the Hagia Sophia mosque is its elegant tiles that tell different stories. If you visit museum with a skilled tour guide, he will tell you all the stories behind these tiles. The most important part of these tiles is the part that was added to the building during the Ottoman era.

The domes:

Hagia Sophia Mosque has a famous dome, which is 55.60 meters high, and you will definitely feel its greatness when you stand under it. It’s good to know that this dome was destroyed several times by the earthquake, and has been rebuilt. We must also say that the main dome is made of brick and marble.

Hagia Sophia minpar
The Minbar:

The minbar is one of the pillars of mosques. It was built during the era of the Ottoman Empire. To see this minbar, you have to go to the right side of the mosque altar.

The courtyard of the mosque:

Hagia Sophia has a very interesting open air area, because the ablution area is located in the courtyard and tourists are always photographing in this place.

Hagia Sophia
Minarets of the Mosque:

This mosque contains 4 minarets with attractive decorations and a height of about 60 meters.

The tombs:

In the Square there are many tombs of the Ottoman Sultans.

How to get to the Hagia Sophia Museum in Istanbul?

Now that you are somewhat familiar with this beautiful Museum, here are the ways to get to this famous building:

What is the distance from Taksim Square?

One of the most common questions travelers ask, is how far is the museum from Taksim Square and Istiklal Street? The two popular places are about 100 meters away and you can walk from Taksim Square to Sofia.

  • Going through the Istanbul Metro:
    The nearest metro station to Hagia Sophia is Marmaray Sirkeci Metro Station, which is 700 meters from the mosque and can be reached in about 5 minutes on foot.
  • Going through using the tram line:
    The nearest tram stop to Hagia Sophia is called Gülhane station, which is about 3 minutes’ walk away.
  • Address of Hagia Sophia Mosque in Istanbul:
    Turkey, Istanbul, Fatih area, Sultanahmet, Hagia Sophia Square, Hagia Sophia Museum

Information about visiting the Hagia Sophia Museum

Before visiting this Mosque, we recommend that you consider the following:

The ticket price :

For adults: 60 Turkish liras
For children under 12 years: Free

Visiting hours:

From April 15 to October 30: 9:00 to 19:00
From October 30 to April 15: From 9:00 to 17:00 visit to the Hagia Sophia Mosque
The museum welcomes visitors and tourists every day of the week except for Monday

Hagia Sophia and the blue Mosque

Tourist attractions near the museum

If you go to Hagia Sophia, you can easily walk to Topkapi Palace within 5 minutes’ walk. This museum is just a 10-minute walk from the famous Gülhane Park. The magnificent Sultan Ahmed Mosque or Blue Mosque is just a few steps away from this museum.

Converting from museum to mosque

On the tenth of July 2020, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a resolution stipulating the cancellation of the Governing Council’s decision in 1934, which stipulated the conversion of the Hagia Sophia from a mosque to a museum, and thus it was opened to the public for the worshipers.