The Stunning Hagia Sophia in Istanbul


Visited the stunning Hagia Sophia today in Istanbul, Turkey. What a place, it’s been three times that I’ve been to Istanbul and every time the line scared me, today I sucked it up and went in, worth every drop of sweat waiting in line, the building is truly magnificent and a UNESCO World Heritage Site for good reason…

The Hagia Sophia which means “Holy Wisdom” in Latin, has a pretty long history dating back over 1700 years. For most of it, served as a Orthodox patriarchal basilica, then a mosque and now a museum. The old saying “they don’t build them like they used” to comes to mind in a most serious manner.

The building is literally a monstrosity and you can spend hours wandering around it even though for the most part it’s a very large open concept. Naturally the focal point being the central dome which considered the true essence of Byzantine architecture and some say it “changed the history of architecture.” Supposedly it had been under scaffolding for ages and is now prime-time to visit.

The building stayed as a church until 1453 when Constantinople aka Istanbul was conquered by the Ottoman Turks and ordered to be converted into a Mosque, so you know… For almost 500 years it was the primary mosque of this city and naturally served as the primary model for further Ottoman mosques with the most famous being the Sultan Ahmed Mosque which is best known as the Blue Mosque. in 1935, it opened as a museum.

If you’re in the area, it’s quite hard to miss. It’s located near the Blue Mosque and is simply majestic. Always knew I’d be back and would have to see it then, if you’re in the area, recommended. Will also suggest that if you wish to take photos, arrive early as it gets crowded fast. It will cost you 20 Lira to get in which is roughly 10 euros.

Apart from checking out the mosque, just hung around doing very little today. Will note something of interest… The price of clothes here are so cheap that it’s almost not worth doing laundry through a service unless you love your gear. Besides the obvious architecture, rich history and culture, Istanbul is a hot spot for shopping, best place I’ve seen outside of SE Asia.

Also hit up the post office, let me give you some adivce. You will be told to get a ticket, the English one will say something like 500 when they are serving number 93. You’ll wait for about 2 dozen numbers before you lose your cool and head to the desks. Then they tell you that letter mail has no numbers and there is no line at the desk to your left. I’m sure there is a skeleton corpse of some all too polite tourist who has been sitting there since 1987.

Not sure how much longer I’ll be in Istanbul, quickly becoming my third home.

Tips hat,

P.S: Also contributing to the eDreams Blog, check it out.

Author: SHABL

Rob has been traveling the world and living abroad for over a decade. The goal was to stop having a boring life and it turned into something far greater. He's worked with national tourism boards and been mentioned in National Geographic. These days he lives abroad and loves business, technology, the tropical lifestyle, good food and travel.

7 thoughts on “The Stunning Hagia Sophia in Istanbul

  1. I hate queueing up to visit the main sites of anywhere but this building is one that I would queue up to see again and again. Worth every penny to get in. Will have to go again in October in the hope that the scaffolding is still missing from the dome.

  2. Wow– what beautiful shots! I fell in love with this building during high school art class, and was so excited to see it in person for the first time. These photos definitely take me back 😀

  3. I love the intricate details of their magnificent architecture. I’m drawn to go there, if nothing else but to see these gorgeous buildings. Absolutely beautiful photos! Oh, and a big thanks for the post office advice; wouldn’t want to be a corpse.

  4. This is one place I have always wanted to see. Its on my bucket list better sooner than later. Your pics are fabulous they pick up on the atmosphere of this ancient Mosque.Is Istanbul a safe place to travel in! It appears to be catering for tourist these days? So many movies are filmed their now to?Istanbul and the blue mosque have always been a source of fascination to me, a must see. thanks for sharing.

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