Discover Istanbul and its spiritual buildings
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. It is almost an embodiment of the Istanbul's history.
Hagia Sophia, which is one of the historic areas of Istanbul, was constructed between 532 - 537 AD. It is a remarkable achievement in the history of architecture, a living proof of mankind's revolt against the laws of physics and a monument whose importance transcends borders. As one of the world heritage sites in Istanbul, 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 spiritual 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. It 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.
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.
Hagia Sophia was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985. One of the oldest holy shrines in the world, the building today serves as a mosque to the common culture of humanity.