Hagia Sophia is one of the most iconic landmarks of Istanbul, Turkey. It was built as a Christian basilica in the 6th century, then converted into a mosque in the 15th century, and finally became a museum in the 20th century. It is famous for its massive dome, rich mosaics, and architectural beauty.
If you want to visit Hagia Sophia, you need to buy a ticket online or at the entrance. The ticket price is 100 Turkish Lira (about 12 USD) for adults and free for children under 8 years old.
You can also join a guided tour for an extra fee, which will give you more insights into the history and culture of Hagia Sophia.
The museum is open every day from 9 am to 5 pm, except on Mondays when it is closed.
To get to Hagia Sophia, you can take the tram to Sultanahmet station, which is a few minutes walk from the museum. You can also take a taxi or a bus, but be aware of the traffic congestion in Istanbul. Once you are there, you can enjoy the stunning views of the Bosphorus and the Blue Mosque from the courtyard.
Some tips for visiting Hagia Sophia are:
- Wear modest clothing that covers your shoulders and knees, as Hagia Sophia is still a sacred place for many people.
- Respect the silence and do not use flash photography inside the museum.
- Avoid visiting on weekends and holidays, as it can get very crowded.
- Allocate at least two hours to explore the museum and its surroundings.
Some prohibitions for visiting Hagia Sophia are:
- Do not touch or damage any of the artworks or structures inside the museum.
- Do not bring any food or drinks inside the museum.
- Do not smoke or litter in the museum or its courtyard.
Some of the things to see in Hagia Sophia are:
- The dome, which is one of the largest and oldest in the world. It has a diameter of 31 meters and a height of 56 meters. It is decorated with gold and colorful patterns.
- The mosaics, which depict various scenes from Christianity and Islam. Some of the most famous ones are the Deesis Mosaic, which shows Jesus Christ with Mary and John the Baptist, and the Calligraphic Roundels, which show the names of Allah and Muhammad in Arabic script.
- The marble columns, which support the dome and the galleries. They are made of different types of marble from various regions of the ancient world. Some of them have inscriptions or carvings on them.
- The upper gallery, which was reserved for women and VIPs in the past. It offers a panoramic view of the interior and exterior of Hagia Sophia. It also houses some of the best-preserved mosaics in the museum.
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