If you’re planning a trip to Istanbul, there’s one landmark that should be on top of your must-visit list, the Hagia Sophia. With its architectural grandeur in history, this iconic structure has captivated travelers for centuries. It is better to have the basic information about the Hagia Sophia before your visit. So here’s everything you need to know about visiting and why it’s an essential stop for anyone exploring the vibrant city of Istanbul.
A Glimpse into History
Having its history being a tapestry of empires and cultures, the Hagia Sophia was built in 537 AD and the architectural masterpiece was a cathedral for almost a thousand years which served to be the heart of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Then it became a mosque for several centuries under Ottoman rule before being transformed into a museum in the early 20th century. Exploring it will give you the feeling of taking a journey through time.
Truly awe-inspiring! Let’s have a deeper look into architectural features:
The Enormous Dome
Hagia Sophia has an enormous dome that used to be the largest in the world. It looks stunning and makes the inside feel spacious and grand.
As you wander through the Hagia Sophia, don’t forget to look up. Inside, you’ll find beautiful mosaics that tell stories from both Christian and Islamic traditions that add a layer of cultural richness and historical depth to the space. Among the scenes from Christian history are, Virgin and Child, emperors and biblical events.
They not only serve as structural elements but also contribute to the aesthetic beauty of the space. And the varied colors and patterns of these columns add visual richness to the interior.
The Blend of Religions
When you look around you’ll see both Islamic calligraphy and Christian artwork. This mix of two faiths shows the rich history of Istanbul and makes the place even more interesting. It’s like a story told through its art and design.
The Hagia Sophia is specifically situated in the historic Sultanahmet district, which is a part of the old city of Istanbul. It is very close to the other major landmarks such as the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Mosque) and the Topkapi Palace. Since The Hagia Sophia’s central location is in the Sultanahmet area it is easy to have access by tourists and visitors.
It’s free till 2024 January 15.