Called "The Church of the Divine Wisdom", this majestic building, which held the title of the largest church in the world for over nine centuries, is a must-see if you visit Istanbul. Although originally a place of worship, it has been open to the public as a museum since 1935. Do not miss a chance to take a picture here.
The church belongs among the most prominent gems of Byzantine architecture. Its construction began at the behest of the Byzantine emperor Justinian. It was completed in 537, and had served as a place of Christian worship for nearly a millennium until 1453 when Istanbul was taken over by the Ottoman empire.
Under the new rulers, the church underwent a set of reconstructions. Minarets were added, as well as a mihrab: a niche in the wall showing the way to Kaaba, or the direction towards which all Muslims should pray. It also became a burial place for the Ottoman princes.
Due to its enormous significance, the mosque is usually very crowded. If you wish to avoid the biggest surge of people, come see it in the morning.
Apr 15 - Oct 31: 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Nov 1 - Apr 16: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
(Last admission one hour before closing.)
Hagia Sophia Museum is not available for visiting in the first days of Ramadan and Sacrifice Festivals for half time.
Adults: 60 TRY
Children (under 12): free