The Legendary Hagia Sophia of Istanbul and Why You Should Visit

September 9, 2022

The magnificent Hagia Sophia is one of Turkey’s most famous sites. Greek for “Holy Wisdom,” the name means. It is located in Istanbul’s historic centre. Hundreds of tourists come to see the artefacts and buildings from two of the most famous empires in the country. Historically, Hagia Sophia was a Byzantine church. One of the world’s most outstanding archaeological achievements, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. All vocations and faiths admire and appreciate its spectacular past because of the enormous dome, Islamic calligraphy, and vibrant mosaics. The magnificent building was initially built as an Orthodox church and then used as a mosque for many years. Religious groups have recently focused on rebuilding it as a place of Muslim worship. If you want to see Turkey’s historical landscapes, rock valley and much more, apply for a group or solo turkey visa online and explore the entire turkey for 90 days.

History of the Hagia Sophia

In the year 537, the Hagia Sophia church was built. At that time, Istanbul (formerly known as Constantinople) stood as the capital of the Byzantine Empire. Hagia Sophia was an enormous skyscraper in the world for a while at the time, and it was an engineering marvel. For nearly 1,000 years, it has persisted as the world’s biggest cathedral. The Ottoman Empire conquered the city of Constantinople back in 1453. Therefore, the Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque. But the majority of the building is still standing. The founder of the Turkish Republic, Atatürk, turned the mosque into a museum in 1935. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Hagia Sophia Museum.

It started as a Church.

When Hagia Sophia was first built, it was a church. The riots destroyed the original wooden building in 404 CE. Following that, it underwent renovations and expansion. However, the second Hagia Sophia did not last very long because fires destroyed it during the Nika Revolt in 532 CE. Everyone, though, decided against leaving the church. A third, entirely new basilica was under construction when Justinian I began his rule. Compared to anything else anyone had seen, this would be bigger and better. Two architects finished it in the following six years. Despite significant damage from an earthquake, the structure hasn’t changed much. Hagia Sophia operated as a church for almost a thousand years.

Converted to a Mosque

After years of invasions, assaults, and religious wars, Constantinople was defeated by the Ottoman Empire in 1453. Sultan Murad II changed the name of the city to Istanbul. He gave the go-ahead for church looting. By this time, the church had decayed, with broken windows and doors that had gone off their hinges. His successor, Mehmed II, rebuilt the building and turned it into a mosque. He led the first Friday prayer here in June 1453, making this place Istanbul’s first imperial mosque. He also added the enormous chandelier, the wooden minaret (a distinctive tower used for the call to prayer), the mihrab, and the minbar pulpit. Up until 1934, Hagia was a mosque for around 500 years.

Currently a museum

The first Turkish founder & president of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, liberalised Hagia Sophia and converted it into a museum. For decades, worship has been banned here by the authorities. In 1991, a small hall in the gallery had subsequently declared a place of worship by the Turkish government. The Free Agia Sophia Council of America was established in 2007 by Greek-American politician Chris Spirou to reuse the building as a Christian church. The following ten years saw several protests. They were encouraging its reopening as a mosque. In 2016, Hagia Sophia hosted the first Islamic prayers in 85 years. After years of protests and disputes, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan approved the building’s restoration to a mosque.

Visiting the stunning Hagia Sophie Museum

One of the best sites to take photos of these magnificent structures is next to the fountain in Sultanahmet Square. On the Hagia Sophia grounds are also The Sultans’ Tombs, a group of three smaller domed structures with elaborate Islamic themes and inscriptions. Visitors are asked to enter the upper gallery and observe a 5-minute silence. While you look about, take in the architecture. Consider the beautifully carved ceilings, archways, and walls. Hagia Sophia retains a calm and quiet atmosphere despite being one of Turkey’s most visited tourist attractions.

Islamic art and Christian symbolism mix on the Hagia Sophia’s walls. The inside of Hagia Sophia is a breath of fresh air, despite being one of Istanbul’s most visited tourist destinations. Millions of people have seen Hagia Sophia over the years to appreciate its beauty and take in its spirit of harmony, peace, and religious tolerance. There are many reasons to ignore everything else and visit this wonder, which will exceed your expectations. To take advantage of fantastic deals on the must-see attractions, start planning a vacation to Turkey by obtaining an e visa for turkey. For the best Turkey e visa offers, contact experts if you need assistance.