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Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya)
Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya)

Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya)

star-5
6,625 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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Full Day: Classic Istanbul Tour Including Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Traveler Favorite

Full Day: Classic Istanbul Tour Including Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace
star-4.5
$65.00 per adult
Great tour of old Istanbul
Great tour of some of Istanbul’s gems. We loved our guide, Janan. She was fun, friendly and incredibly knowledgeable
Margo_N, Jul 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
Excellent tour
Neha_M, Jul 2021
Istanbul Old City: Hagia Sophia - Suleymaniye Mosque - Spice Bazaar
Absolutely loved the tour. I was with my parents and Erol was extremely patient and explained everything in detail. His vast knowledge was immediately evident. He set the pace according to his clients. I would highly recommend him.
star-5
Tour
Alfie, Jul 2021
Small-Group Tour Including Topkapi Palace, Underground Cistern and Hagia Sophia
Great tour and knowledgeable guide. It was a lot of walking but it’s nice because we started early. We also enjoyed the lunch that comes with
star-5
Excellent
Aleksandra_P, Jul 2021
Full Day: Classic Istanbul Tour Including Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace
Came on time, friendly, accommodating to our needs. Well organized, delicious lunch provided, fast access
star-5
Worth it.
Amy_J, Jul 2021
Private Tour: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour including Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace
Great tour. Amazing guide who tailored the sites to our needs gave interesting and comprehensive information and was also kind and fun to talk to. We learned so much, saw so much, and had an amazing time.
star-5
Unforgettable Istanbul.
john_a, Jul 2021
Full Day: Classic Istanbul Tour Including Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace
It was all about Canan, pronounced Janan. Lovely and informative guide. It was a perfect day in Istanbul, sunshine and blue skies. Too bad about the renovations happening in the Blue Mosque, but still very impressed. We would definitely do it all again. Great advice in the Grand Bazaar for shopping and browsing. Spectacular!!
star-5
Good Visit
Faty_B, Jun 2021
Morning Istanbul: Half-Day Tour with Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Hippodrome and Grand Bazaar
I want to thank Jasmine, best guide ever. The visit was very interesting, and the explanations of the guide really clear.
star-5
Highly recommended
kdoherty, May 2021
Small-Group Tour Including Topkapi Palace, Underground Cistern and Hagia Sophia
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!
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
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
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.

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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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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