Things To See in Hagia Sophia

Things To See In Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia, located in Istanbul, Turkey, is a historic and iconic building that has been a significant part of world history for over a millennium. Originally built as a Christian church, the building was later converted into a mosque during the Ottoman period, and in 1935, it was transformed into a museum.

The building's striking architecture, stunning mosaics, and intricate calligraphy are a testament to the skill and creativity of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. The sheer size and scale of the building, along with its fascinating history, make it one of the most popular tourist attractions in Istanbul. Despite being closed for a few years, Hagia Sophia was re-opened as a mosque in 2020, which added another layer of significance to this already iconic building. A visit to Hagia Sophia is a must for anyone visiting Istanbul, as it offers a glimpse into the rich and diverse history of this fascinating city.

The Massive Dome

The massive dome of Hagia Sophia is one of the most impressive features of the building, measuring 55.6 meters in height and spanning 31 meters in diameter. It was constructed in just five years, using innovative architectural techniques that were ahead of their time. The dome is made up of 40 ribs that converge at the top, creating a mesmerizing effect that draws the eye upward. The dome's massive size and intricate design are a testament to the incredible engineering and architectural skill of the Byzantine era. Today, visitors can stand beneath the dome and marvel at its impressive size and the beautiful light that filters in through the windows, creating an awe-inspiring atmosphere that is truly unforgettable.


Hagia Sophia is renowned for its beautiful mosaics, which adorn the walls and ceilings of the building's interior. These mosaics depict a range of religious figures, biblical scenes, and other motifs that offer a glimpse into the history and culture of the Byzantine Empire. Many of these mosaics were created in the 9th century, and despite being damaged during the Iconoclastic period, they have been carefully restored to their former glory. Visitors can admire these beautiful works of art up close and marvel at the skill and artistry of the craftsmen who created them.

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The intricate calligraphy that adorns the walls of Hagia Sophia is another stunning feature of this iconic building. The calligraphy was added during the Ottoman period, and it features passages from the Quran written in beautiful Arabic script. The calligraphy was added to the building in the 16th century, and it complements the mosaics and other artwork that adorn the interior. The combination of Christian and Islamic artwork within the same building is a testament to the rich and diverse cultural history of Istanbul, and it adds another layer of significance to this already impressive building

. Checkout: Hagia Sophia Museum

The Mihrab

The mihrab, or prayer niche, is a beautiful and ornate feature of Hagia Sophia that is located on the southern wall of the building. The mihrab is a semicircular niche that indicates the direction of Mecca, which is the direction that Muslims face during prayer. It is adorned with intricate geometric patterns and Arabic calligraphy, and it serves as a focal point for worshippers during Friday prayers. The mihrab is a testament to the Islamic heritage of Hagia Sophia, and it adds another layer of significance to this iconic building.

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The Imperial Door

The imperial door is a grand entrance way to Hagia Sophia that was used exclusively by the emperor and members of the royal family. It is located on the southern side of the building and features intricate carvings and ornate decorations that are typical of Byzantine architecture. The door was designed to impress visitors and to reinforce the power and authority of the emperor. Today, visitors can admire the door and imagine what it would have been like to enter Hagia Sophia through this grand entrance during the height of the Byzantine Empire.

Do Checkout: Hagia Sophia Church

The Apse

The apse is a semi-circular recess located at the eastern end of Hagia Sophia, opposite the main entrance. It is traditionally the location of the altar in Christian churches, and it features a large mosaic of the Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus. This mosaic, which dates back to the 9th century, is one of the most famous and iconic artworks in Hagia Sophia. The apse is also decorated with ornate marble panels, and it serves as a reminder of the building's long and rich history as a place of worship.

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The Galleries

Hagia Sophia features two galleries, the upper and the lower gallery, which are located above and below the main level of the church, respectively. The galleries were used to house members of the clergy and the imperial family during religious ceremonies. The upper gallery is reached via a series of narrow staircases and offers stunning views of the interior of the church. The lower gallery features a series of intricate arches and is home to a number of smaller mosaics and decorative features that are not visible from the main level.

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The Fountain

The Fountain of Hagia Sophia, also known as the "Wishing Well," is a beautiful and historic feature located in the courtyard of the magnificent Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey. This fountain has a fascinating history that dates back to the Byzantine era and has been witness to many significant events over the centuries. According to legend, the water from the fountain has special healing powers, and visitors often toss coins into the well as a wish for good health and prosperity.

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The Courtyards

Hagia Sophia features two courtyards, one on the east and one on the west side of the building. The eastern courtyard, also known as the "Narthex," served as a gathering place for the faithful before entering the church. It features a number of interesting features, including a series of marble columns and arches. The western courtyard, on the other hand, was used for a variety of different purposes over the years, including as a cemetery and as a storage area for building materials. Today, visitors can stroll through the courtyards and take in the unique atmosphere of this ancient and revered site.

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FAQs of Hagia Sophia

What is Hagia Sophia?

Hagia Sophia is a historic and iconic building located in Istanbul, Turkey. Originally built as a Christian church, it later served as a mosque and is now a museum.

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What is the history of Hagia Sophia?

Hagia Sophia was built in the 6th century AD by the Byzantine emperor Justinian I. It served as a Christian church until the Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople in 1453 and converted it into a mosque. In 1935, it was turned into a museum.

What is the significance of Hagia Sophia?

Hagia Sophia is considered one of the greatest architectural wonders of the world, combining elements of both Christian and Islamic art and architecture. It has served as a symbol of both the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, and it remains an important cultural landmark today.

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What can I see inside Hagia Sophia?

Inside Hagia Sophia, visitors can see a number of historic and artistic treasures, including the massive dome, beautiful mosaics, intricate calligraphy, and the ornate mihrab. Recommended Reads: Interesting things about Hagia Sophia

Is there an admission fee to visit Hagia Sophia?

Yes, there is an admission fee to enter Hagia Sophia. The fee varies depending on whether you are a Turkish citizen or a foreign visitor, and there may be additional charges for special exhibits or tours.

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