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Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya)
Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya)

Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya)

Aya Sofya Meydani, Istanbul, 34357

The Basics

Turkey’s magnificent Hagia Sophia is a riot of swooping domes and mismatched minarets added throughout its long life. The lofty interior is a soaring sequence of domed and arched spaces, centering on the shell-like apse and the massive dome, which seems to float unsupported and gives the church its amazing sense of space. Work continues to uncover the golden Christian mosaics and colorful frescoes from the Byzantine era, which were plastered over by the Ottomans.

Tours often allow you to skip the long lines with a guide, and many Istanbul excursions combine the Hagia Sophia Museum with other sights in Istanbul’s Sultanahmet neighborhood, including the Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Grand Bazaar, and Basilica Cistern.

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Full Day: Classic Istanbul Tour Including Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
Full Day: Classic Istanbul Tour Including Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace
star-4.5
$65.00 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Fabulous experience
This was a very pleasurable experience from start to finish. The tour guide was very friendly and knowledgeable about the history of the places we visited. The buildings were fabulous. We had a lovely lunch and finished the day in the grand bizarre. I would recommend experiencing this tour. Thank you
Christine_L, Oct 2021

Recent reviews from experiences in Istanbul

star-5
Amazing Tour with Erol
Carmen_Tufan, May 2021
Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace Half Day Tour
What an amazing guide we had: Erol! We visit Istanbul during May lockdown and were surprised and very pleased to have Erol as our private guide! His knowledge and attention to detail amazed us! My husband is a Turkish national and he even learned a lot of details from Erol! Highly Recommended! Perfect English pronunciation and he keeped us Safe with COVID protocols during our visit! If you plan to visit Istanbul ask for Erol to be your Guide!
star-5
Great guide and amazing site!!!
Carlos_G, Oct 2021
Just Hagia Sophia Tour /Skip The Lines
Great notes from the guide, and amazing place. I recommend 100% Ismail walked us thru old and modern Turkish history, and provided essential points for Hagia Sophia.
star-5
Great guide and amazing site!!!
Carlos_G, Oct 2021
Just Hagia Sophia Tour /Skip The Lines
Great guide highlighting the history of Turkey, Istanbul, and Hagia Sophia. We learned a lot and enjoyed every second of it!!!
star-5
Fascinating, safe way to experience Istanbul highlights
Nancy_H, Oct 2021
Small-Group Tour Including Topkapi Palace, Underground Cistern and Hagia Sophia
Our guide, Sercet was knowledgeable and delightful. He had a great sense of humor and made history come to life for us. The mosques, palace, tile museum, rug shop and grand bazaar were all wonderful.
star-5
This tour was perfect
Hernan_B, Oct 2021
Istanbul Old City: Hagia Sophia - Suleymaniye Mosque - Spice Bazaar
A unique experience knowing istambul with someone who knows it so much, English was perfect and we were able to know all the interesting facts about this beautiful city, thank you very much for everything!
star-5
Could not have been better.
William_B, Oct 2021
Small-Group Tour Including Topkapi Palace, Underground Cistern and Hagia Sophia
Our guide was excellent. He had a PhD and truly knew his stuff. He was very personable and attentive. We chose to do it all on foot. We were able to make better use of time that way and have more time seeing and less time getting from place to place. The lunch was superb. The best street food we had in Istanbul. I am a travel agent and can strongly recommend this tour.
star-5
Awesome tour guide--must-see sights!
Eliana_E, Oct 2021
Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace Half Day Tour
We ended up getting a private tour and our guide Erol was excellent! He was very knowledgeable and spoke English well. He also accommodated our requests and scheduling. A must-see for all tourists in İstanbul!
star-5
Istanbul The Old and New
Eric_J, Oct 2021
Full Day: Classic Istanbul Tour Including Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace
Janet did a great job connecting the past with the present day Istanbul. Her knowledge and unique insight of Istanbul rich history complimented the amazing architecture of the Hagia Sophia which began construction in A.D. 532. I would recommend this tour to anyone who is interested in world history.
star-5
knowledge of our guide,...
CIELO_S, Oct 2021
Private Tour: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour including Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace
knowledge of our guide, great tour, amazing places we visit, have a great lunch, speak very good English.
star-5
Istanbul guide I would recommend
Mark_H, Sep 2021
Istanbul Old City: Hagia Sophia - Suleymaniye Mosque - Spice Bazaar
My guide was Erol Utgun and we met as was pre-arranged. I had a great half day learning about the places visited and unknown facts. Very knowledgable about all things Turkey so we had some very good conservations about thing in general. I would have no hestitation in recommending Erol.
star-5
Best tour I have ever taken 👍👍👍
Danny_B, Sep 2021
Private Tour: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour including Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace
I was overwhelmed by the beauty and history of Turkey. Also, my guide had extreme knowledge of not only Turkey but of many other countries as well. The guide had a fantastic personality and I really appreciate the experience that I will remember for the rest of my life! Well done!!!!! 👍👍👍
star-5
Best Hagia Sophia tour and great information
NIKOLAOS_F, Oct 2021
Just Hagia Sophia Tour /Skip The Lines
The guide was great, provided information above and beyond our expectations and the whole tour was interesting fun. I would definitely suggest.

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Hagia Sophia is a must-visit for history and architecture buffs, and all first-time visitors to Istanbul.

  • Restoration work is ongoing in the Hagia Sophia, so expect scaffolding and some obstructed views and access.

  • The best view of the lofty interior is from the upstairs gallery.

  • Save time by booking a skip-the-line tour to avoid the long lines.

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How to Get There

The Hagia Sophia is in Istanbul’s Sultanahmet neighborhood, just across the way from the Blue Mosque and close to Topkapi Palace. It is minutes away from the Sultanahmet tram stop and is also easily accessible by taxi. Parking is limited in the Sultanahmet neighborhood, so taxi or tram is the most convenient option.

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When to Get There

The Hagia Sophia is a busy attraction, so try to arrive early in the morning to beat the crowds. It’s open seven days a week, even during most of the major national and religious Turkish holidays, with a few exceptions. Closing hours are extended between April and October.

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Art in the Hagia Sophia

The Hagia Sophia has impressive frescoes and spectacular mosaics that depict Christian scenes. Admire the golden mosaics, including Constantine the Great presents Constantinople and Justinian the Great presents Hagia Sophia to the Virgin, probably from the 10th century, and others depicting Jesus and the Virgin Mary. Notice the colorful cherubim frescoes that the decorate the domed ceiling.

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