This is the third of eleven posts on Istanbul. Check out our other posts here:
- Introduction to Istanbul
- 4 Nights at the Magnificent Park Hyatt Istanbul
- Hagia Sophia: Church, Mosque, and Now Museum
- Cheap Eats in Istanbul!
- Istanbul’s Magnificent Mosques
- Turkish Food is Quite a Delight!
- Suleymaniye Hamami: A Mixed Gender Turkish Bath
- Shopping at the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar in Istanbul
- Istanbul’s Other Sights: The Topkapi Palace & Basilica Cistern
- Crossing the Bosphorous Strait: A Day Trip from Europe to Asia
- Lounge Deathmatch: Turkish Airlines vs. Cathay Pacific
When Mr. Selfish and I landed in Istanbul, one of the first things we did was take a taxi to the Hagia Sophia. I had been compulsively checking the weather forecast for Istanbul the week prior to our trip. Unfortunately, it was to be rainy and cloudy the majority of our stay in Istanbul – except for that first day. So despite our jetlag, we immediately left our hotel room and headed for the Hagia Sophia.
We weren’t disappointed. The sun was gloriously shining, and the view of the Hagia Sophia was amazing.
There are several benches and even a fountain in front of the Hagia Sophia. You can just sit and enjoy the view.
We returned a couple of days later on a rainy and miserable day to tour the inside.
The Hagia Sophia was completed in the year 537 and was an Eastern Orthodox church for the majority of that time until 1453. Between 1204 and 1261, it was briefly a Roman Catholic cathedral. In 1453, it became a mosque, and then in 1935, it was opened as a museum. Entry into the museum cost 35 TL, which is about $12 USD.
With its rich history, the Hagia Sophia is an architectural beauty with Christian and Islamic features. I loved seeing the Christian images set against the Islamic symbols.
The massive dome is considered to be the epitome of Byzantine architecture.
The Christian mosaics were also quite impressive. I liked how they depict Jesus and Mary with the then-reigning emperors and empresses.
There were also some other interesting artifacts, including huge urns, each carved from one slab of marble.
On our last evening in Istanbul, we headed back to the Hagia Sophia for one final view.
I highly recommend visiting the Hagia Sophia if you come to Istanbul. It was definitely one of the highlights of our trip!