Hagia Sophia Museum, Istanbul Overview

Hagia Sophia Museum is one of the most stunning monuments in not just Istanbul but the whole of Turkey itself. Initially a Greek Orthodox Christian Cathedral which was converted into an Imperial Mosque in the Ottoman period and then finally into the museum that we see today, Hagia Sophia is also known as the eighth wonder of the world. It has been considered the finest example of engineering for its massive dome structure and marvellous architecture, considering it was built in 537 AD. It is not only visited for its magnificent building, but also for the different stages of history, the monument has been a part of.

Hagia Sophia is considered as the best piece ever created in the Byztantine architecture. The interiors have high ceilings, vast corridors and massive halls, the walls of which are decorated with beautiful mosaics and paintings that had been brought here from different parts of the world. 

The popular dome of the monument is 180 feet in height and having a diameter of 107 feet and had revolutionised the architectural history with its design and magnificence.  The four minarets surrounding the dome are 60 metres high and show intricate designs and patterns carved on it. Several sculptures and antiques, painted walls and ceilings make this masterpiece as beautiful from inside as it looks from the outside.

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History of Hagia Sophia Museum

Phase 1: Church of Constantius II : Under the rule of Constantine, a church on the same site was constructed in the year 360. Some riots occurred after a few years that burned the whole church down.

Phase 2: Church of Theodosius II : Another church was proposed by Theodosius II on the same site and the construction completed by 415. The basilica, which had wooden floors and wooden roof, was also burned down in a subsequent fire. 


Phase 3: Basilica of Hagia Sophia : Emperor Justinian I proposed the construction of a much bigger and a more attractive monument with the help of two architects Isodore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles. Thousands of people were employed to build this monument that took almost 6 years to complete. Several earthquakes caused the dome to collapse and destroyed other parts as well. Armenian architect Trdat under the rule of Emperor Basil II reconstructed the whole monument that took another 6 years.

How to Reach Hagia Sophia Museum

Take a tram to Sultanahmet station and then walk to the museum

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