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Worth a visit
Rating 1.1 (231 votes)

Hagia Sophia

Listed under Mosques in Istanbul, Turkey.

  • Photo of Hagia Sophia
  • Photo of Hagia Sophia
  • Photo of Hagia Sophia
  • Photo of Hagia Sophia
  • Photo of Hagia Sophia
  • Photo of Hagia Sophia
  • Photo of Hagia Sophia
  • Photo of Hagia Sophia
Photo of Hagia Sophia
Photo by Sherry Ott
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The world-famous Hagia Sophia (Church of Wisdom) was built on the orders of Emperor Justinian in the 6th century AD, and for over a millennium was the world’s largest church. It was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest in the 14th century, but in the 20th century Ataturk - the secular “father of Turkey” - made it a museum. There are beautiful Byzantine mosaics on the walls and ceilings, especially the preternatural Mary figure that seems to float on the high domed ceiling, and the famous “Christ Pantocrator.” Mosaics on the second floor portray Byzantine rulers paying a priest in order to insure entry into heaven, with the baby Jesus approving.

For a selection of the best places to stay close to Hagia Sophia, visit The Hotel Guru

Written by  Mike Lyvers.

Other expert and press reviews

“Hagia Sophia: Unknown Beauty”

I vaguely remember coming to Hagia Sophia (meaning Holy Wisdom)  on my first visit to Istanbul 12 years ago. It was my first exposure to the Islamic religion and the first time I had been in a mosque (even though it was no longer a funct… Read more...

Written by  Sherry Ott. Read more on Sherry's Blog


By Ben Crichton for The Independent. First published Saturday, 20th September 2008. Turkey's greatest city is caught between two continents, with architectural riches galore. But there are plenty of modern delights as well. Autumn brings cool Black Sea… Read more...

Written by press. See the full article in The Independent, 20th September 2008

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

A blend of Christian and Islam

I found the heaven's clash between the architecture of two religion, Christian and Islam. Mixture of cultures. Thanks God for this integration.

Fantastic place in the centre of Istanbul. A must see!

1 Reply

When I went to this Mosque recently there was an event on and we could not get access. Always check before you go to make sure it's open.

Paranormal activity at the Hagia Sofia

Istanbul as a very ancient and historic city as a whole is a very haunted city. One of the great highlights of that trip was seeing the Hagia Sofia. As the mother of all churches and a former mosque there is a tremendous spirit about the place. As you even come within a few feet you can feel the energy emanate off of it. It is absolutely remarkable.

Here is a link about the history:

Below you can see from my photos an unusually high amount of orbs of light were captured. Pretty spectacular!!

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