Explore the architectural prowess and historical heritage of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires at Hagia Sophia which is a 1500-year old landmark dominating the skyline of Istanbul. Hagia Sophia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist attraction in Istanbul that lures history enthusiasts, architects and artists from all over the world. It is located in the Sultanahmet Square of the Istanbul city, near Topkapi Palace and across from the Blue Mosque.
The central position of the Hagia Sophia location makes it easily accessible and can be reached by all types of public transportation like bus, train, metro and tram.
As you step into the mosque, you can see that it is a unique monument that showcases an idyllic blend of the architectural styles of both a church and mosque. Originally built as a cathedral in the 6th century during the reign of Emperor Justinian I, Hagia Sophia was known as the Church of Holy Wisdom.
You can still witness the elements of the church in the mosque including the huge 32-metre main dome, two semi-domes on the east and west and 30 million golden Byzantine mosaics adorning the interior. Upon the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the church was converted into a mosque. You can see the addition of a beautiful Islamic calligraphy collection on the interior walls, wooden minarets, a large chandelier, a mihrab and minbar, further enhancing the architectural splendour of the mosque.
Location: Sultan Ahmet, Ayasofya Meydanı No:1, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Türkiye
Hagia Sophia is located in the European part of Sultanahmet Square in the Faith district of Istanbul in Turkey. The Hagia Sophia location is only 1.8 kms from Topkapi Palace and is situated across the Blue Mosque. The distance between the mosque and Istanbul International Airport is around 20 kms.
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Topkapi Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is located 1.8 kms from Hagia Sophia Mosque, was the primary residence of Ottoman sultans for almost 400 years. Constructed in the 15th century, it was the administrative and cultural centre of the Ottoman empire.The palace features stunning architecture, lush gardens, plush courtyards and the Imperial Harem that depicts the country's glory. The Imperial treasury houses a vast collection of artefacts, including Ottoman treasures, Islamic relics, prized ornaments, imperial heirlooms and armours, making the palace a fascinating museum.
The Grand Bazaar, located 3.2 kms from Hagia Sophia, is one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world. It was constructed in the mid-15th century after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople to increase economic growth. Situated in the heart of the city, this bustling marketplace spans over 61 streets and houses around 4,000 shops offering an incredible variety of goods. You can shop for unique Turkish products and souvenirs including jewellery, apparels, ornamental lamps, ceramics, spices, and traditional Turkish crafts.
The Blue Mosque, also known as Sultan Ahmed Mosque, is a historical mosque in Istanbul that is right across the Hagia Sophia direction. Built in the early 17th century, its stunning architecture features six minarets, cascade of grand domes, huge courtyard and a vast prayer area. The interior of the mosque features elements from the Ottoman Empire, Byzantine Empire and traditional Islamic architecture. It is adorned with 260 colourful glasses, 20,000 blue iznik tiles with over 50 motifs and verses from the Quran.
The Basilica Cistern, also known as the "Sunken Palace”, is an ancient underground water reservoir built during the reign of Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century. The structure was built on Stoa Basilica and consists of 336 marble columns with intricately carved capitals, many of which were brought from ruined temples. The grandeur of the cistern, dimly lit ambiance, and reflection of the columns on the water create a captivating atmosphere, thus making the Basilica Cistern a summer retreat.
The Egyptian Bazaar, also known as the Spice Bazaar or Misir Carsisi, is a bustling marketplace in Istanbul that dates back to the 17th century. It is located in the Eminonu neighbourhood from where you can witness stunning views of the Galata Tower and Golden Horn. The bazaar has around 85 shops selling aromatic spices, exotic herbs, dried fruits, nuts, cheese, jam, coffee and a variety of Turkish delights. You can also shop for souvenirs like jewellery, ceramics, silver and traditional handicrafts.
A fine example of historical significance, cultural heritage and architectural brilliance, Dolmabahce Palace is a stunning landmark in Istanbul. Built in the mid-19th century, it served as the primary residence and main administrative centre for the Ottoman Empire. The palace's design reflects a blend of Ottoman, Rococo, Baroque, and Neoclassical styles, featuring luxurious interiors with crystal chandeliers, intricate woodwork, and grand halls. It is presently a museum that features a huge collection of artwork, calligraphy and carpets.
Hagia Sophia location is situated in the European part of the Sultanahmet area of the Fatih district in Istanbul. The mosque is only 1.8 kms from the Topkapi Palace and is located across from the Blue Mosque.
You can use public transport like bus, train, tram and metro, most of which have stops at Sultanahmet Square from where the Hagia Sopia is only 5 minutes away. You can also rent a cab or drive directly following the Hagia Sophia direction.
There are no car parking facilities at Hagia Sophia, but there are few car parking lots near the mosque which are just 3 minutes away from the Hagia Sophia location. Ispark Otopark, Dalbasti parking, Naz Otopark and Sports Car Park are some of the parking facilities near Hagia Sophia.
The closest train station to Hagia Sophia location is Sikeci which is just a 16-minute walk from the mosque.
One of the fastest ways to get to Hagia Sophia location is by taking a taxi and getting off right outside the mosque. If you wish to use public transportation to quickly reach Hagia Sophia, you can take a tram or metro train to Sultanahmet station from where you can walk to the mosque in less than 10 minutes.
Hagia Sophia is open 24X7 on all days of the week throughout the year, but is closed for non-worshippers during the prayer hours and noon prayers on Fridays.
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Yes, photography is allowed inside the Hagia Sophia but do not take pictures of people who are in the mosque to pray. It is important to stay silent without disturbing or standing in front of others while taking pictures of the mosque.
Hagia Sophia Mosque is a significant landmark of Istanbul that depicts the history, culture and architectural brilliance of the city. Originally built as a cathedral in the 6th century, it was the principal church of the Byzantine Empire and later became a world-famous mosque during the Ottoman Empire. Hagia Sophia is famous for its Grand Central Dome, intricate Byzantine mosaics and ornate stonework.
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