Istanbul: Hagia Sophia, Topkapi & Basilica Combo Ticket
- Skip the line
- Valid: 3 days
This magnificent Byzantine church turned Ottoman mosque was made a museum in 1935 by Kemal Ataturk, the father of the Turkish Republic. It's one of Istanbul's proudest icons, so here are five things that shaped this showcase of Christian and Islamic Empires.
The grand church was converted to a mosque after the Ottoman conquest in 1453. However, the site has also been home to two previous churches and a Pagan temple!
Justinian I strained the breadth of his Empire to have the Hagia Sophia built in 537. On its completion he's said to have proudly boasted, "Oh Solomon, I have surpassed thee!"
Not making it to Jerusalem, the Venetian-led Fourth Crusaders instead took Constantinople. Saint Mark's Basilica in Venice still houses many of the spoils!
As well as being sacked in the Fourth Crusade, the Hagia Sophia's heavy dome has collapsed several times due to earthquakes. It wasn't completely stabilized until 1859!
The Hagia Sophia became a mosque in 1453, when the Ottomans seized Constantinople. Its many alterations included the erection of minarets and the purging of Christian iconography.
You can visit the Hagia Sophia between the hours of 9:00AM and 7:00PM from April 15th to September 31st, and between 9:00AM and 5:00PM from October 1st to April 14th. It is closed in the early days of Ramadan and Eid al-Adha. Book tickets in advance to avoid the queues!
The Hagia Sophia is just a short walk from the Sultanahment metro and tram stops. Close to many of Istanbul's historic attractions, it's also covered on most city walking tours!
Want to discover all there is to do in Hagia Sophia? Click here for a full list.
We had the best experience ever with Yasin! He did a phenomenal job showing us all of Istanbul & giving us history lessons on all the areas we went too. We also got to skip the long lines for tickets which saved us so much time! He also took us to a incredible restaurant with authentic Turkish cussine! I highly recommend this for anyone trying to see Istanbul in one day!!
The tour guy was really nice. He explained everything well and also had pictures saved (fortunately) of some Part of the church which had been covered.
Mehmet was wonderful! Although it was a walking tour there was lots of time to sit down and relax at each site. Would definitely recommend to others.
From the beginning to the end, it was the best organised city tour that we had. Thank you very much for the great service!
The tour was great! We learned so much about the history and importance of the Hagia Sophia