Hagia Sophia, meaning “Holy Wisdom” in English, is one of Turkey's most visited and worshipped places. The Hagia Sophia's history dates back to the 6th century when it was constructed for the very first time. Upon its completion, it served the purpose of an orthodox Christian church. The monument is the most visited place in Turkey and a significant tourist attraction. The Hagia Sophia went through multiple bouts of construction, but the present-day structure was completed in 537 CE.
Historical facts about Hagia Sophia contain information about its transformation from being a church to the present-day mosque. In 1934, the first president of the Turkish Republic, President Kemal, declared Hagia Sophia a secular structure. Since then, it has served as a museum and a historical representation of Turkey. Later in the year 1985, UNESCO declared Hagia Sophia a “World Heritage Site.”
As a result, Hagia Sophia has always been on the list of every tourist visiting Turkey, and its grand Christian-style structure attracts many visitors. In 2020, the status of Hagia Sophia as a museum was struck, and President Erdogan’s order declared a mosque for regular worship.
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Hagia Sophia, originally built as a cathedral in Istanbul, Turkey, has a captivating history through the ages. Constructed in the 6th century by Emperor Justinian, it stood as an architectural marvel with its massive dome and intricate mosaics. It served as a significant Eastern Orthodox cathedral for nearly a thousand years until the Ottoman Empire's conquest in 1453, transforming it into a mosque. The Ottomans added minarets and Islamic features, preserving its grandeur. In 1935, it became a museum, highlighting both its Christian and Islamic heritage. However, in 2020, it was converted back into a mosque. Today, Hagia Sophia stands as a UNESCO World Heritage site, symbolizing the blending of cultures and religions throughout history.
The timings of Hagia Sophia are divided into two parts:
Best Time To Visit: Visit Hagia Sophia during spring or fall for pleasant weather and fewer crowds, allowing you to admire its majestic beauty and historical significance without the hassle. You can also check out the weather report of Turkey before planning your visit to Hagia Sophia
How To Reach:
There are multiple public transport options to reach Hagia Sophia. One can simply deboard at Sultanahmet station; from there, it is a 3-4 minute walk
Hagia Sophia is located at Sultan Ahmet, Ayasofya Meydani No.1, 34122 Fatih/ Istanbul, Turkey.
Reaching Hagia Sophia is quite comfortable because of better connectivity across Turkey.One can simply drive down to Hagia Sophia or take up public transport like the metro.
Tips:- One can use Hagia Sophia audio guides for a better experience
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When was the Hagia Sophia built?
According to the Hagia Sophia history, the structure has undergone 3 phases of construction to date. It was first built in the 6th century by the East Roman Empire as a church. Then, after riots, it was rebuilt in 415 CE, and final construction took place in 537 CE, which is the present structure.
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Why is the Hagia Sophia important?
Hagia Sophia is the most visited and worshipped Islamic Shrine in Turkey. It has combined importance for both Christians and Muslims. In its early days, it was an Orthodox Christian Church. After the takeover by the Ottoman Empire, it was converted into a mosque, and all the Christian Relics were removed from it. Islamic structures like minarets were installed around Hagia Sophia.
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How was the Hagia Sophia altered during the Ottoman Period?
In 1453, the Ottoman Empire took control of the whole of Turkey. After taking power, Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II ordered the conversion of Hagia Sophia into an imperial mosque. All the Christian Relics were taken down, and Islamic symbols and emblems were installed everywhere. It was the Ottoman Sultan only who named present-day Istanbul. For more information on the history and transformation of Hagia Sophia.
How did Hagia Sophia get its name?
The name of the present-day structure was never Hagia Sophia since its construction. However, as it was an orthodox church in its early days, it was named Magna Ecclesia (the Great Church) due to its vast structure and dimensions. The name “Hagia Sophia” finally came into existence post 430 CE. Today it is known by different names like Ayasofya, Sancta Sophia, and Holy Wisdom.
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Do Hagia Sophia tickets include guided tours?
Yes, the majority of Hagia Sophia tickets include skilled local guides for guided tours.