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Written by Sowmya C on June 7, 2021 Share on

Hagia Sophia – A Turkish Treasure That Cannot Be Missed

Known to feature in the top 5 world’s sought-after tourist destinations, Turkey is the place where different cultures unite. Home to Europeans and Asians, it is the place to be if you are a history geek. This is because it has served as the capital city for the Roman, Latin, and Ottoman empires. Separated by the Bosphorus strait, the European and Anatolian sides make Istanbul what it is. Because of cultural and historical richness, it is no surprise to find Hagia Sophia in the heart of the city. Hagia Sophia is the all one former church and mosque and current museum. Here is a brief description of Hagia Sophia because it is a must-visit on every trip to Turkey.

Also read: Places to Visit in Istanbul

About Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia, the reminder of all the religious changes the region had gone through, is located in Sultan Ahmet, Istanbul. It is the bridge that connects Istanbul across different eras and has to both Islamic minarets and Christian mosaics. It is only a 40-minute ride from the Istanbul Airport ( IST). The blue mosque of Istanbul, yet another tourist eye candy is visible from the window on the second floor. So don’t worry about missing out on this fascinating structure when you are travelling via an Istanbul tour package from India. All the paths will lead you home!

History of Hagia Sophia

In Turkish, Ayasofya was finished in the 6th century during the Byzantine reign of Emperor Justinian I. Initially occupied by the Megale Ekklesia by Emperor Constantine I, the area holds the structure that was rebuilt after the initial structure was demolished. Rebuilt more than once after earthquakes and looted in 1204 by Venetians and the Crusaders on the Fourth Crusade. After the 1453 invasion by the Ottoman Empire , Mehmed II repurposed the church into a mosque ๐Ÿ™‚ The current minarets and inscriptions of Islam were added about this time!
Fast forward to 1935 and President Kemal Atatรผrk recognized it as a museum. Open to visitors from all over the world, at the moment Hagia Sophia is also a mosque after a decision taken for it 2020.
Creedits : Unsplash

What to expect in Hagia Sophia?

Entering the list of UNESCO’s world heritage sites is no easy task. There is no surprise that Hagia Sofia made the cut! ๐Ÿ™‚ When you enter the doors of Hagia Sophia on your visit you are in for a surreal experience. It is not just an artistic miracle but is also an architectural mystery. The dome supported by a square structure is an example of architectural expertise. Don’t miss out on the wall painting of The Virgin Mary and Child between Justinian I and Constantine. They offer a model of Hagia Sophia and a model of the city of Constantinople to the mother and son. Take a walk and marvel at how the structure stood the test time and retain its beauty.
Credits : Unsplash

How to Reach Hagia Sophia?

Nobody in Istanbul would exist without knowing Hagia Sophia. It is very accessible from the IST airport and is just a 40-minute ride. All it takes is 43 minutes to reach this place if your flights touch down in the Sabiha Gokcen International Airport. So hop on a bus or a taxi or the local tram and get going!

Fact check

If you are reading this, you must have fallen in love with the beauty of a monument. I am sure you want to know more about Hagia Sophia. So here are a few fun facts about one of the greatest structures of all time!

  • Sophia means wisdom in Greek. When put together, Hagia Sophia means Shrine of The Holy of God. 
  • Hagia Sophia has the second largest dome in the world after Rome’s  Pantheon.
  • Hollow bricks support the grand dome. The bricks are made of light and porous clay.
  • The museum is open from 9 am to 7 pm with the last entry being at 6 pm from 15th April to 1st October. For the rest of the year, it is open from 9 am to 5 pm with the last entry being at 4 pm.
  • Hagia Sophia inspired the construction of the Blue Mosque and Sultan Ahmed Mosque.
Credits : Unsplash

Things to remember before visiting

Hagia Sophia is one of the most revered spots in the whole of Turkey. So it is very important to keep a few things in mind while visiting. So here are a few pointers :

  1. Make sure to remove your footwear before you enter the museum.
  2. The attraction is open for visitors every day, except Mondays.
  3. Always buy your entry ticket prior to your visit so that you don’t have to stand in lines!
  4. Hagia Sophia prohibits the use of tripods. So make sure you do not carry one.
  5. Dress modestly and do not wear revealing clothes or even shorts!
  6. Carry your documents and a bottle of water on you at all times ๐Ÿ™‚

So, that is what Hagia Sophia is all about. Ready to explore Turkey on your next vacation? Then, go ahead and explore PickYourTrail for Turkey holiday packages! We are India’s leading customizable travel company that gives travellers the freedom to customize their itineraries based on their budgets, requirements, and interests completely online. Go ahead and check out one for yourself. Happy Turkey vacation to you! ๐Ÿ˜€

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