Hagia Sophia Mosque is one of the most visited historical places in Istanbul. Hagia Sophia, which was selected to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1985, is at the top of our list of places to visit in Istanbul .
Hagia Sophia, whose history dates back to 337 AD, opens its doors to more than 2 million visitors every year. Hagia Sophia, which literally means “Holy Wisdom”, is seen as one of the most prominent monuments in the world in terms of art and architecture history. Hagia Sophia was among the most visited museums in the world when it was a museum.
When Was Hagia Sophia Built
In fact, today’s Hagia Sophia is the third structure built on the same place.
- First Building : The construction of Hagia Sophia started by Constantinus, the first emperor of Byzantium, who declared Christianity the official religion of the empire, and his son II, who was on the throne between 337 and 361. It was completed by Constantius and inaugurated on February 15, 360. The structure, which was built with a basilica plan and wooden roof, was burned by the rebels in 404 during the Arcadios period.
- Second Building : In 415 II. It was rebuilt by Theodosios with a similar plan and became the largest church in Istanbul between 415-532. As a result of the Nika revolt against Emperor Justinian in 532, it was burned again and its remains were cleaned.
- Third Building : Emperor Justinian rebuilt Hagia Sophia as the world’s largest church in the same place in a short period of 5 years and opened the Hagia Sophia Church, which was completed, to worship on 27 December 537 with a great ceremony.
When Did Hagia Sophia Become a Mosque?
When Fatih Sultan Mehmet conquered Istanbul in 1453, Hagia Sophia, the largest religious building in the city, was converted into a mosque, renovated and strengthened with retaining walls. The most extensive repair in Hagia Sophia was made by Mimar Sinan in the 16th century, and supporting walls and minarets were added to the structure during this period.
Hagia Sophia, where you can see Christian and Islamic elements together, was converted into a museum on February 1, 1935, and was opened to visitors by the decision of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the Council of Ministers.
Hagia Sophia, which was reopened for worship in 2020, serves as a mosque today.
Where is Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia, the heart of Istanbul, is located in the Sultanahmet district of Fatih district.
Click for location information .
How to Get to Hagia Sophia
The most practical way to reach Hagia Sophia is to use the Bağcılar – Kabataş tram line.
You can get off the tram at one of the stops in Sultanahmet or Gülhane, because the Hagia Sophia Mosque is located right in the middle of the two stops. The distance of the museum to the two stops is almost the same and is about 200 meters.
Those coming from the Anatolian side can reach the tram line by taking the ferry from Kadıköy or Üsküdar to Eminönü.
Hagia Sophia Entrance Fee
When Hagia Sophia was a museum, visitors were charged at the entrance. With the opening of the mosque as a mosque in 2020, the entrance is now free. Today, Hagia Sophia, which serves as a mosque, can be visited by tourists as in the past.
Hagia Sophia Visiting Hours
The Hagia Sophia Mosque, which was reopened as a mosque on July 24, 2020, is open to visitors 24 hours a day. You can visit anytime, including weekdays and weekends.
How Much Time Should I Allocate for Hagia Sophia?
You should spare at least 1.5 hours to see and examine the architecture, structure, mosaics, imperial gate, upper galleries of Hagia Sophia in detail.
Things to See in Hagia Sophia
In the historical past of Hagia Sophia, it was used as a church for 916 years and as a mosque for 482 years. (it is still used as a mosque) Considering this situation, it should not be forgotten that this structure is a holy temple and should be handled in accordance with its historical identity.
There is no doubt that you will experience great admiration when you take your first step from the entrance gate of Hagia Sophia.
Columns and Marbles
Justinian requested materials from many different parts of the empire for the rebuilding of the church and also collected the processed materials of the old structures. Thereupon, eight large red columns were brought from Heliopolis in Egypt. Columns were brought from the Temple of Artemis in Western Anatolia Ephesus, Kyzikos, and Ba’lebek in Syria. Apart from these, marbles of different types and colors were brought here from different regions.
Dome and Angel Depictions
The dimensions of Hagia Sophia’s dome are unusually large for a church. The height of the dome covering the main space is 55.60 meters from the ground, its diameter is 31.87 meters in the north-south direction and 30.86 meters in the east-west direction. In order for the dome not to collapse easily in earthquakes, light and strong bricks specially produced from Rhodes soil were used.
In every corner of the dome, the angels of Seraphim, who are believed to protect God’s throne in heaven, are depicted. While the angel depictions in the eastern part were made from mosaics, the ones in the western part were renovated as frescoes because they were damaged during the Eastern Roman Period. Angel depictions were closed during the Ottoman period.
With the conquest of Istanbul, Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque and many Islamic motifs were added to create an Islamic temple atmosphere. The most important of these is of course the verse “God is the light of the heavens and the earth” written on the dome of Hagia Sophia. (Surah Nur, verse 35) Calligrapher Kadıasker is the work of Mustafa İzzet Efendi. It was built during the reign of Sultan Abdülmecid.
The gate, which is called the Imperial Gate because it was used only by the Emperor and his relatives, provides the passage from the inner narthex to the main space in Hagia Sophia. It is the largest gate of Hagia Sophia and is made of oak wood. It is 7 meters high with a bronze frame. The wings of the gate, dated to the 6th century, are covered with bronze plates. It is claimed in Eastern Roman sources that it was made from the trees of Noah’s Ark.
VI. Leon Mosaic
Dating to the 10th century, the mosaic is located on the Imperial Gate. The depiction of Jesus in the middle of the scene holds an open Bible in his left hand. Emperor VI, who is depicted prostrating himself at his feet with his right hand. He blesses Leon (816-912). On the right side of the mosaic, there is the depiction of Gabriel in the medallion, and on the left, the depiction of the Virgin in the medallion.
The Apse Mosaic is located at the eastern end of Hagia Sophia, on a high point of the apse. The Virgin Mary, sitting on a jeweled throne, is depicted holding the child Jesus in her arms. On March 29, 867, Patriarch Photius opened the mosaic. Probably previously damaged and destroyed, the mosaic was restored in the 14th century, the golden background is the original from the 9th century.
To the south of the inner narthex, above the Beautiful Gate, the Offering Mosaic is located at the ceremonial gate used by the Empire and its family. It was discovered by Fossati during the restoration of Hagia Sophia in 1849. In the middle of the panel made of gold mosaics, the Virgin Mary and the child Jesus in her arms are depicted. On the left side of the Virgin Mary, Constantine is depicted with a figure symbolizing Constantinople, and on the right side, Justinian is depicted with a figure symbolizing Hagia Sophia. It is told that the emperors gave gifts to Mary to protect the city and the church, the city and the church.
Patriarch Mosaics in Tympanon
The exact dates of construction are unknown, and the mosaics are thought to have been made in the 9th or 10th centuries. The mosaics are located in half-arched niches on the tympanon walls in the northern direction of the building. Only three of the patriarch figures depicted have survived to the present day in a well-preserved condition. In the first niche, the Patriarch of Constantinople Ignatios the Younger, in the fourth niche, the Patriarch of Constantinople St. Ioannes Khrysostomos, in the sixth niche, Patriarch of Antiocheia St. Ignatios Theophoros is located. The figure depicted in the seventh niche is thought to be Athanasius.
We seem to hear you say what is the “Viking Writing” doing in Hagia Sophia…
This inscription, which is estimated to belong to the 9th century, is located on the marble balustrades in the middle section of the south gallery. The text that says “Halvdan was here” is thought to have been written by a Viking mercenary serving in the army in Eastern Rome.
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