will close on Feb 27th.

Please save any personal content and exchange contact info with other members you?d like to stay in touch with. Thank you for your contributions to the VirtualTourist community.

"Aya Sofia" Hagia Sophia - Ayia Sofia - Ayasofya Tip by aukahkay

  Aya Sofia
by aukahkay
  • Aya Sofia - Istanbul
      Aya Sofia
    by aukahkay
  • Islamic medallions - Istanbul
      Islamic medallions
    by aukahkay
  • Aya Sofia interior - Istanbul
      Aya Sofia interior
    by aukahkay

Hagia Sophia is a former patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, now a museum in Istanbul. Famous in particular for its massive dome, it is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture. It was the largest cathedral ever built in the world for nearly a thousand years.

In 1453, Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks and Sultan Mehmed II ordered the building to be converted into the Ayasofya Mosque. The bells, altar, iconostasis, and sacrificial vessels were removed, and many of the mosaics were eventually plastered over. The Islamic features — such as the mihrab, the minbar, and the four minarets outside — were added over the course of its history under the Ottomans. It remained as a mosque until 1935, when it was converted into a museum by Attaturk.

The upper gallery of the museum contains impressive Byzantine mosaics depicting Virgin Mary and Child and Jesus. Islamic elements in the museum include the Islamic medallions, the mimbar and the Sultan lodge.

Address: Sultahahmet
Directions: In Sultanahmet opposite Blue Mosque
Phone: +90 212 522 1750

Was this review helpful?

  • Written Nov 8, 2008
  • Send to a Friend
  • Add to your Trip Planner
  • Report Abuse



“Travel opens your mind to the world and makes you a global citizen”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 4 7 6

Have you been to Istanbul?

  Share Your Travels