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If you happen to be in Sultanahmet district of the old Istanbul, go and visit Hagia Sophia. This is a must visit if you into art, architecture and history or just simply admiration of beauty. To me Hagia Sophia was a WOW factor.

Hagia Sophia was a Christian cathedral until it was converted to a mosque in 1453 by Sultan Mehmet the conqueror. It became his imperial mosque, four minarets were added.

Kemal Attaturk the founder of modern Turkey decided to convert Hagia Sophia into a museum and made it into national heritage to preserve and for the world to see.

The original Hagia Sophia was built in the fourth century by Constantine the Great. During Hagia Sophia long history it has been destroyed and rebuilt. In 532 AD it was burned during the Nika riots. It was rebuilt by emperor Justinian the First. Before that it was rebuilt by emperor Theodosius the Great.

The meaning of Hagia Sophia is the church of holy wisdom.

Now Hagia Sophia is acknowledged as one of the great buildings of the world and the remaining great of Byzantine architecture.

When you enter inside the building you will see the Byzantine Christian art, Islam religious art and the many standing marble pillars. On the ceiling you will see the oldest mosaic of the Virgin Mary and Jesus as a child. From outside you can admire the great Byzantine architecture.

Open: Tues-Sun 9am-5pm

Address: The old Istanbul in Sultanahmet?Aya Sofya Square
Directions: Opposite the Blue Mosque, not far from Topkapi Palace and Hippodrome.
Phone: +90 212 522 1750
Website: http://www.ayasofyamuzesi.gov.tr/

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Sep 5, 2007
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