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Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya)
Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya)

Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya)

star-5
6,490 Reviews
Aya Sofya Meydani, Istanbul, 34357

The Basics

Turkey’s magnificent Hagia Sophia is a riot of swooping domes and mismatched minarets added throughout its long life. The lofty interior is a soaring sequence of domed and arched spaces, centering on the shell-like apse and the massive dome, which seems to float unsupported and gives the church its amazing sense of space. Work continues to uncover the golden Christian mosaics and colorful frescoes from the Byzantine era, which were plastered over by the Ottomans.

Tours often allow you to skip the long lines with a guide, and many Istanbul excursions combine the Hagia Sophia Museum with other sights in Istanbul’s Sultanahmet neighborhood, including the Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Grand Bazaar, and Basilica Cistern.

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Small-Group Tour Including Topkapi Palace, Underground Cistern and Hagia Sophia

Traveler Favorite

Small-Group Tour Including Topkapi Palace, Underground Cistern and Hagia Sophia
$65.00 per adult
Highly recommended
Very knowledgeable and personable. He had a lot of history on many places and time periods of Turkish history. Will definitely book with him again for other tours!
kdoherty, May 2021

Recent reviews from experiences in Istanbul

star-5
Amazing Tour with Erol
Carmen_Tufan, May 2021
Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace Half Day Tour
What an amazing guide we had: Erol! We visit Istanbul during May lockdown and were surprised and very pleased to have Erol as our private guide! His knowledge and attention to detail amazed us! My husband is a Turkish national and he even learned a lot of details from Erol! Highly Recommended! Perfect English pronunciation and he keeped us Safe with COVID protocols during our visit! If you plan to visit Istanbul ask for Erol to be your Guide!
star-5
Amazing Tour!!!
Ana_J, Jun 2021
Full Day: Classic Istanbul Tour Including Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace
Our guide was amazing, friendly and very knowledgable! We had a great time walking around and hearing about the history of Constantinople. Highly recommend!
star-5
Informative
Saalihah_H, May 2021
Morning Istanbul: Half-Day Tour with Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Hippodrome and Grand Bazaar
Everything was so beautiful, the mosques, the hippodrome even the grand bazaar had some nice stores but the workers do haggle you a lot which is expected. The tour guide that we had explained everything to our group and he really knew what he was talking about, he had a lot of interesting facts and information. I won’t forget this experience
star-5
The Best of Istanbul
garnerbl2, Apr 2021
Full Day: Classic Istanbul Tour Including Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace
We had an amazing time! Our guide, Selcuk Ersan, was very knowledgeable and friendly. We went to all the sites listed in the tour and had plenty of time to ourselves for pictures and exploring the locations. We loved lunch especially. We had an amazing meal at a really nice resturaunt with appetizers, kebaps, and dessert. We even were able to buy a bottle of wine to enjoy with it. I highly recommend him if you need a guide for the essentials of Istanbul!
star-5
Next best thing to being there!
Rita_C, Mar 2021
Virtual Tour of Blue Mosque & Hagia Sophia
Ayfer is a wonderful guide and she brought centuries of history to life for us. Such an enjoyable tour and I was so happy to share these important destinations with family members who haven't been to Istanbul yet. And even though I have visited both buildings multiple times, I still learned so much! Hope to take a tour with Ayfer in person soon ...
star-5
definitely worth is
sadia, Dec 2020
Istanbul Old City: Hagia Sophia - Hippodrome - Suleymaniye Mosque - Spice Market
My tourguide was very helpful and brought a headscarf for the mosques and sanitiser. The sites were gorgeous and we did a tea tasting in the end which was fun.
star-4
Great Tour!
Gabriel_P, Dec 2020
Small-Group Tour Including Topkapi Palace, Underground Cistern and Hagia Sophia
Unfortunately the Cistern was not opened, I think because of restoration. but the rest was really amazing!
star-5
Best tour ever!!!
Fahad, Apr 2021
Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace Half Day Tour
We had this scheduled for the day that we landed! Didn’t want to waste time and I’m glad we didn’t! Erol was ahead of time and was one of the nicest people we’ve ever met! His knowledge of Istanbul is incredible! I had seen both Hagia Sophia and Topkapi before, but wanted to refresh my memory. Both times I took the tour in the past , it was with a tour guide , and there were so many things that I learned on THIS tour with Erol that I never heard before it was crazy!! I wish other guides were as knowledgeable as Erol!! Legit the best tour guide , tour company and one of the best cities in the world!
star-5
Incredible tour and hospitality
Sara, Mar 2021
Hagia Sophia Group tour
Muhammet is an incredible and knowledgeable guide. He is the best guide we had in Istanbul because he is so willing to share his knowledge of history, religion, and, of course, Istanbul. He took time out of his day to show us parts of the original city, the best views of the old city, and spent a considerable amount of time teaching us about both the structure and the history of the Hagia Sophia. Forget the guidebooks and book this tour. Muhammet makes history come alive in a thoughtful and provoking way. I cannot recommend touring with him enough.
star-5
beautiful
Elizabeth_R, Nov 2020
Morning Istanbul: Half-Day Tour with Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Hippodrome and Grand Bazaar
absolutely amazing, guide was exceptional. wonderful day. we decided to forego the return taxi and ate lunch and walked around the nearby city.
star-5
Perfect Istanbul day trip
Jahirul_C, Dec 2020
Full Day: Classic Istanbul Tour Including Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace
We were picked up from the hotel, taken to the sites, shown around the beatufiul city. The guide was very knowladgeable and a perfect host, made us fall in love with the city even more then what we expected.
star-5
Awesome Old City Tour!
Sean_S, Sep 2020
Istanbul Old City: Hagia Sophia - Hippodrome - Suleymaniye Mosque - Spice Market
We highly recommend this tour. Erol was very informative and was able to answer all of our questions. I would recommend anyone traveling to Istanbul to experience this half-day tour.

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Hagia Sophia is a must-visit for history and architecture buffs, and all first-time visitors to Istanbul.

  • Restoration work is ongoing in the Hagia Sophia, so expect scaffolding and some obstructed views and access.

  • The best view of the lofty interior is from the upstairs gallery.

  • Save time by booking a skip-the-line tour to avoid the long lines.

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How to Get There

The Hagia Sophia is in Istanbul’s Sultanahmet neighborhood, just across the way from the Blue Mosque and close to Topkapi Palace. It is minutes away from the Sultanahmet tram stop and is also easily accessible by taxi. Parking is limited in the Sultanahmet neighborhood, so taxi or tram is the most convenient option.

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Trip ideas

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When to Get There

The Hagia Sophia is a busy attraction, so try to arrive early in the morning to beat the crowds. It’s open seven days a week, even during most of the major national and religious Turkish holidays, with a few exceptions. Closing hours are extended between April and October.

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Art in the Hagia Sophia

The Hagia Sophia has impressive frescoes and spectacular mosaics that depict Christian scenes. Admire the golden mosaics, including Constantine the Great presents Constantinople and Justinian the Great presents Hagia Sophia to the Virgin, probably from the 10th century, and others depicting Jesus and the Virgin Mary. Notice the colorful cherubim frescoes that the decorate the domed ceiling.

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