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"Hagia Sophia - Awe Inspiring" Hagia Sophia - Ayia Sofia - Ayasofya Tip by mightywease

  Hagia Sophia - view across the nave
by mightywease
  • Hagia Sophia - view across the nave - Istanbul
      Hagia Sophia - view across the nave
    by mightywease
  • Hagia Sophia - view of the Minbar - Istanbul
      Hagia Sophia - view of the Minbar
    by mightywease
  • Hagia Sophia - lamp - Istanbul
      Hagia Sophia - lamp
    by mightywease
  • Hagia Sophia - windows and fresco - Istanbul
      Hagia Sophia - windows and fresco
    by mightywease
  • Hagia Sophia - external view - Istanbul
      Hagia Sophia - external view
    by mightywease

Hagia or Aya Sophia (Church of the Divine Wisdom) was inaugurated in 537 by Emperor Justinian. It has been a church, mosque and is now a museum.

The first thing to strike you when entering the nave is its sheer size and scale (the dome reaches a height of 54m, 187 ft). It is worth letting your eyes wander up the walls past the half domes and on to the apex of the main dome which seems to float, as if suspended in the air, above the interior space. Quite dizzying. Walking around the interior there is a beautifully decorted mirhab (the niche indicating the direction of Mecca) and minbar (pulpit). Also the Pillar of St. Gregory the Miracle Worker, sometimes called the Weeping Pillar, is believed to have healing powers, transmitted by inserting your finger into a hole in the column.

The galleries contain some beautiful wall frescos, many still looking colourful and fresh despite their age. You can also get a close up view of the huge plaques bearing calligraphic inscriptions which hang over the nave and see the different coloured marble used in the buildings constructio.n The views over the nave itself and the ceiling are fantastic. It's worth taking time to walk around the upper gallery in order to view the nave from different angles

It can be rather busy and the air is often full of voices and - though not actually allowed - the flash of cameras (please turn the flash off, you can get equeally good pictures and help to preserve the wonderful decorations for futire visitors) however Visiting Hagia Sophia is a truly awe-inspiring experience.

Opening Hours: 9.15am-4.30pm closed Mondays

Address: Ayasofya meydani, Sultanahmet
Directions: Very near the Blue Mosque and the Hippodrome.
nearest tram stop: Sultanahmet

Phone: +90 212 522 1750

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Nov 4, 2006
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