Built in 537 AD, this is one of the most famous museums and monuments in the world in terms of art and architecture. It was a ... More
Built in 537 AD, this is one of the most famous museums and monuments in the world in terms of art and architecture. It was a church for 916 years and a mosque for 481 years, which was then converted into a museum in 1935. It is an epitome of Byzantian architecture. The massive dome, the large collection of holy relics, the illustrious urn, and the 49-foot silver iconostasis are some of the main attractions in this monument. Hagia Sophia is also believed to be the place which witnessed the beginning of Great Schism.
Is is a church or is it a mosque or is it a museum? It is in fact all these and much more!
Perhaps no other tourist attraction on earth offers such a diverse and contraversial history.
The joy of being in this unique building is well worth your time and money. Turkey is a must for travellers; and Hagia Sophia is a must for those visiting Istanbul!
Upon entering the first thing I noticed was that half the church was taken up by scaffolding reaching the dome. It was annoying to see this but unfortunately it is necessary to help repair the damage done to the Church. Hopefully they can restore it quickly and remove the scaffolding. The church itself takes your breath away with the size of everything: the open space, the dome, the Islamic medallions, etc. Unfortunately visitors were not allowed in the upper galleries for my visit, but the Haghia Sophia is the most crucial destination in Istanbul, plain and simple.
I have been there twice in the last 4 years. If you go in the late afternoon it seems more quite and you can get lost in the historic atmosphere. The first time I was there you didn't have to pay to see the upper balcony. This is where most of the mosaics are and is well worth paying the price that is now imposed.
The craftsmanship in this building is astounding and I spent many hours just absorbing the details.
The stone work in this building is outstanding and the huge volume enclosed inside dwarfs any visitor. In 1999 they were fixing the ceiling and this is probably an on-going project, but go anyway. Makes a nice day's outing with the Blue Mosque, which it faces.
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