The Hagia Sophia Mosque in Istanbul is one of the most prominent attractions in Turkey, and many regards it as a symbol of the country. This mosque, previously a church, has stood for centuries as one of the most important structures in Turkey and the Middle East. This structure is so important that it was designated the world’s eighth wonder in the sixth century.
Every year, the Hagia Sophia Museum emerges brighter than any word in a Turkish travel book and fascinates innumerable people. The vast history, architectural features, and the name of this mosque are just a few of the fantastic qualities of this mosque that will make you delighted simply reading about them.
Introducing Hagia Sophia Mosque
Many tourists contemplating trips to Turkey, particularly Istanbul, have the facade of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul as a famous picture of this city. Also, many see Hagia Sophia as the emblem of Turkey. With its enormous domes and minarets, the Hagia Sophia Mosque in Istanbul’s Sultanahmet neighborhood is one of the city’s most famous landmarks and draws tourists annually.
Where is Hagia Sophia Mosque in Turkey?
The Hagia Sophia Mosque is situated in one of Istanbul’s most important and central locations. This historic church is located in the Hagia Sophia plaza in Istanbul’s European quarter. This is one of the city’s busiest neighborhoods, with numerous visitors, stores, houses, and tourist attractions.
Topkapi Palace and Sultanahmet Mosque are two well-known sites near Hagia Sophia. It’s worth noting that Topkapi Residence was the first palace of the Ottoman sultans and is today regarded as one of Istanbul’s historical landmarks.
History of Hagia Sophia Mosque
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of the Istanbul travel guide is Hagia Sophia’s rich history. To discover more about the fascinating stories that this building has witnessed, we must analyze its history in sections:
From Rome to Byzantium
After Dioclesian divided the Roman Empire into eastern and western halves, Istanbul became one of the empires and region’s most significant cities. This city, known at the time as Byzantium, was situated on the shortest path from east to west. Istanbul’s ideal position transformed it become a meeting place of the East and West worlds, which it has retained to this day. Byzantine architecture and art were influenced by both ancient Rome and the Orient.
In the Byzantine Empire, Turkey’s Hagia Sophia Mosque served as a church. Emperor Constantine I ordered the construction of this cathedral in 532 AD. Justinianus was responsible for the church’s rebuilding and repair. This church’s rebuilding was done by two architects, under the supervision of 100 academics, and with the help of 10,000 labourers. Antius (from Tralles, or today’s Edenli) and Isidoros (from Miletus, or today’s Sokli) were the architects of the building’s renovation. This project took five years to complete, and the Hagia Sophia Church opened on 27 Aralik 537.
Ottoman Empire and Republic of Turkey
With the capture of Constantinople (Constantinople), the Byzantine Empire crumbled, and the Ottomans took authority. Originally, Hagia Sophia Church was known as the Great Church. When the Ottomans came to power in Turkey, Islam superseded Christianity, and Mehmed II turned the grand cathedral into the Hagia Sophia Mosque of Turkey. Following that, the Ottoman sultans lavished care on this mosque over the years.
Suleiman I covered the mosque’s carvings after Mehmed II so that Friday prayers may be performed there. Senan was commissioned by Selim II to restore Hagia Sophia. Murad III added to the mosque the mihrab, minaret, and minbar of Hagia Sophia, which are among its most attractive features. During the reign of Murad IV, Mustafa Chalabi painted Quranic verses on the mosque’s ceiling and walls.
If you visit the Hagia Sophia museum today, you will notice tablets on the ceiling bearing the names Allah, Muhammad, Abu Bakr, Omar, Osman, Ali, Hassan, and Hussein. These tablets were likewise erected concurrently until Ibrahim Fandi’s script replaced them during Abdol Majid’s reign.
Turkey became a republic after the Ottoman Empire fell, and Atatürk came to power. By Atatürk’s direction, the Hagia Sophia Mosque was converted into a museum and is still in use today.
The architecture of Hagia Sophia Mosque, Turkey
The art of Byzantine architecture
To properly appreciate the architecture of Hagia Sophia, we must first study more about the architectural art of the Eastern Roman Empire. Until the 6th century AD, Byzantine architecture was influenced by Christianity. This architectural art form emerged during Justinian’s reign in the sixth century AD. Iustinianus, like Constantine, had a deep interest in building and art and was continually encouraging artists to construct the largest and grandest creations imaginable. His reign is referred to as the “first golden age” of art in the Eastern Roman Empire as a result of his enthusiasm.
From 300 to 1000 AD, Byzantine architecture developed, and it contains a number of distinctive qualities. Among these, we may point out the exterior’s simplicity, the column rows, and the marble hallways. Large domes on suspended semi-domes and basket-shaped capitals were typical features of these structures.
Hagia Sophia Museum’s architecture and interior design
The Hagia Sophia Mosque in Istanbul has survived since Justinian’s reign and is regarded as the most important surviving architecture from that period. This mosque’s architectural splendours include its harmonizing arches and columns. This brick structure, with a surface area of approximately 6,000 square meters, is coated with marble. Hagia Sophia contains 107 columns and nine doors, the main door of which is framed in marble and bronze.
Although this structure has been a mosque for many years, certain vestiges of Christianity may still be found within. Among the remarkable features of this museum are images of Jesus (PBUH) and Maryam. This church also has tiles from the Christian era, which adds to its beauty. Among these tilings are Christ and Louis VI, Sono (Mary and Christ), two angels, and so forth. These vistas, combined with Islamic calligraphy and Ottoman buildings, are a wonderful and unique blend of the East and West, attracting many travelers each year.
You can spend hours being entertained and amazed by the Hagia Sophia’s sights, which include paintings, paintings, columns, domes, and other works of art.
Visiting information of Hagia Sophia Mosque
Consider the following when visiting Hagia Sophia:
- Visitors are not permitted in some areas of the mosque during Friday prayers; thus, use caution when visiting this mosque.
- During daily prayers, it is required to remain silent.
- You can only enter the mosque without shoes, and it is obligatory to observe Islamic dress.
- It is completely free to visit this mosque.
- You can visit the Hagia Sophia from 9 am to 5 pm during the winter and from 9 am to 7 pm during the summer.
- This museum’s last admission is one hour before it shuts.
- Most portions of the museum allow flash photography; however, the camera stand is not available.
- There is no bathroom in Turkey’s Hagia Sophia Mosque; therefore, if you need one, you should walk to a neighboring cafe.
The best time to visit Hagia Sophia Mosque
Until some time ago, the Hagia Sophia Mosque in Istanbul was closed on Mondays. Fortunately, recently Hagia Sophia also operates on Mondays; But many people do not know this; Therefore, Mondays can be a quiet and suitable time to visit this museum. On other days, the best time to visit Hagia Sophia is when the museum opens. During these times, you will face less crowd, and you don’t need to wait for a long time.
Sightseeing places around Hagia Sophia Mosque
There are so many sightseeing places in Istanbul that you will never get bored in this city. Fortunately, Hagia Sophia is located in a historical neighborhood and therefore has many attractions around it. In the following, we will introduce some of the closest attractions around Hagia Sophia:
- Hurrem Sultan Hammam
- Ahmed III Fountain
- The Blue Mosque
- Topkapi Palace Museum
The access route to Hagia Sophia Mosque
As previously said, the Hagia Sophia Museum is conveniently positioned in the city, so you can quickly approach this structure from anywhere in the city. To go to Hagia Sophia, use the following route:
Sultan Ahmed Stop is the tram station nearest to Hagia Sophia. To get to this station, take the T1 line (Baclar-Kabataş). Take the cable car to Kabatash if you are in Taksim. To go to Sultan Ahmed station, take the tram there. After arriving at Sultan Ahmed, it is only a few minutes’ walk to Hagia Sophia. The Istanbul Card can is useful for minimizing the cost of the metro.