About Hagia Sophia
From the Big Church to Holy Wisdom
How Hagia Sophia was built
reflects a very interesting story with two important milestones; the first is the East Romans building the church while the second being the Ottoman Empire converting Hagia Sophia into a mosque
. Hagia Sophia is renowned to be the biggest church constructed by the Eastern Roman Empire in Istanbul. The big church known as Megale Ekklesia
in origin was constructed in three varying times on the same locale. Emperor Konstantinos was the first person who built Hagia Sophia
in 360 A.D. The first construction was burnt during a riot in 404 A.D. Thus, the second church was re-built by Emperor Theodosios II, just eleven years after the fire. Unluckily, the second church was devastated in 532, again during a riot between the blues and the greens representing the aristocrats and merchants on rivaling sides. The third church was completed by two Roman architects of Emperor Justiniano's reign on 27 December 537.
The reason why Hagia Sophia is a wonder of the world
is explained by its architecture, functionality and its huge size. Originally, it was shaped like a basilica, having a wooden roof and vertical positioning. The Big Church is known to be converted into Holy Wisdom
, referring to the reasoning of why it was built the third time. By the order of Emperor Justinian's, all the provinces of the East Roman Empire sent the best architectural pieces to reconstruct the great building. This great masterpiece was the largest worshipping area for the Christians in the eastern districts of the Empire while being the symbol of grandness compared to King Süleyman’s temple in Jerusalem.
The Combination of Religions and Eras
This fascinating architecture is a combination of three basilica styles with the center occupied by the dome and with Islamic figures strengthening the spirit. What is in Hagia Sophia
is a mixture of Islamic and Christian figures of religion as well as Ottoman and East Roman architectures. The construction includes large amounts of marble columns. White marble pieces are known to be originated from Marmara Island while the green porphyry from Egriboz Island and the yellow blocks from North Africa are combined to make up the asymmetrical shape.
After the conquest of Istanbul by the Ottomans in 1453, the decision of renovating this nice temple damaged by the Crusades was taken by Fatih Sultan Mehmet who turned Hagia Sophia into a mosque
. The minarets were designed and constructed by Mimar Sinan while mihrabs, makssorahs as well as a preachment stand being added to the construction to reinforce the structure of the mosque in it. Thanks to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s decision in 1935, by which Hagia Sophia Museum
welcomes its visitors today in this latest form.
Tips Before Scheduling St. Sophia Programme
The first step to arrange your visit is to find out what time Hagia Sophia opens
and when is closed. In fact, the opening and closing times for the museum depending on the season. It is open for visits at 09:00 both in winter and summer. However, closing times are scheduled according to the final entry. In winter, 16:00 is the latest entry time whereas it is delayed to 17:00 on summer days. So, the advice for tourists when to visit Hagia Sophia
is any time but preferably between April and October is the best if you want to enjoy longer. Of course, the best advice is to take a guided Hagia Sophia skip-the-line tour
with efficient time management. You can have a look at the tour on istanbul.com.
The Selected Tours for Hagia Sophia Museum
The famous Hagia Sophia is recognizable by
the central dome representing an Orthodox basilica with four minarets representing the Islamic religion’s figures. So, it is always a popular and busy spot for visitors. The best way to discover this beauty is to take a Hagia Sophia skip-the-line tour
led by professional guides of istanbul.com. This tour lasts for almost an hour and there is no need to wait for a long queue to get in.
Travelers of Istanbul are always eager to find a solution to see as much as the mystical city relics so that selecting a suitable tour is a matter of decision. Istanbul.com alternatives make it possible to buy Hagia Sophia and Topkapı Palace tickets
easily by Istanbul Tourist Pass
. The pass varies from 2 -7 days in nature, saves money and time for you with its allowance to more than 30 attractions in the city. Furthermore, you don’t need to check how far is Hagia Sophia from Istanbul Airport
because this pass of istanbul.com has a free shuttle service from the airport.
Another strongly recommended type of exploration in the area is a walking tour. Istanbul half-day walking tours
successfully give you the great energy of the surroundings from Hagia Sophia to Grand Bazaar
while walking on the spot.