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Hagia Sophia Museum

Discover Istanbul, home of Hagia Sophia


Great Temple of Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia is one of the most important monuments of the ancient world, the most spectacular religious building in Istanbul, also called as the 8th wonder of the world. Start your day by visiting Hagia Sophia, almost an embodiment of the Istanbul's history.

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia, a remarkable achievement in the history of architecture. A living proof of mankind's revolt against the laws of physics. A monument whose importance transcends borders. As one of UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage sites, Hagia Sophia continues to attract millions with its majestic grandeur and beauty.

Hagia Sophia is so magnificent in appearance that people of the time believed that the church could not have been built by human hands alone but only with the help of divine support.

Dominating Istanbul's skyline, this quaint edifice has been expanded and restored several times throughout the centuries. Hagia Sophia has always been unique as an architectural piece from the first day it was built.

Hagia Sophia is not only renowned for its magnificent religious architecture but also for its superb exquisite Byzantine mosaics and fine examples of unique Ottoman calligraphy.

Visit Istanbul, witness the holiness of this edifice and let its magic mesmerize you.

History of Hagia Sophia

Church: Built by the order of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century, Hagia Sophia, the Church of Holy Spirit, includes pagan pillars taken from Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis and precious mosaics of Christianity and Islam. This great temple was dedicated to the Holy Spirit (Sophia) in the trinity doctrine of Christianity.

Hagia Sophia is also one of the largest cathedrals in the world having special significance for the Orthodox community.

Mosque: The church was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman Conquest of Istanbul in 1453. Ottomans buttressed the edifice with architectural elements displaying Ottoman character.

Mosque elements such as a mimbar, a mihrab, preacher's platform and wooden balustrades were added inside. Mahmut I had a library built here. The southern courtyard includes mausoleums of Murat III, Mehmet III, and Selim II. The original baptistery was converted into a mausoleum for Mustafa I and Sultan Ibrahim.

Museum: Hagia Sophia opened as a museum in 1935.

Architectural Features

The original floral and geometrical mosaic decorations survived from the 7th century. Figurative mosaics date back to post iconoclastic period. There are 8 discs made of leather and hung from the splendid dome of the Hagia Sophia. These fine examples of Ottoman calligraphy remind us the historical period during which the building was used as a mosque.

Hagia Sophia Museum, Turkey

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul