Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya)
- Type: Churches/Religious Sites, Monuments and Memorials, Museums, Sightseeing
- Time to Spend: 1 to 2 hours
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Tourists flock en masse to the Hagia Sophia for its stunning architecture, glorious interior views and its historical significance. Built between the years of 532 and 537, the building was a church for nearly a thousand years. It then served as a mosque from 1453 until 1934, before become the secular museum that it is today.
Once the biggest cathedral in the world for hundreds of years, the Hagia Sophia is considered the magnum opus of Byzantine architecture. Some say the building is symbolic of the eclectic history of Istanbul itself, with beautiful Christian mosaics alongside brilliant Islamic calligraphy.
You can visit the Hagia Sophia in the Sultanahmet neighborhood Tuesdays through Sunday, from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Admission is around $13 USD.