HAGIA SOPHIA

Skip-the-Line Tickets & Tours


Bestseller Hagia Sophia Ticket

Save your time with these skip-the-line entry tickets to Hagia Sophia, with an audio guide in 23 languages. Marvel at the beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage site. + more details

Most Selling Hagia Sophia Guided Tours

Explore the Hagia Sophia with a local expert on a guided tour, then skip the lines to explore its breathtaking upper gallery interior with an audio guide. + more details

Most Preferred Combo Tour

See 3 of Istanbul's most famous landmarks with this combination tour. Go inside the iconic Blue Mosque, explore the mysterious Basilica Cistern, and see the grand Hagia Sophia mosque from outside. + more details

Best Value Combo Pass

The MegaPass is covering all top museums in Istanbul like Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace & Harem, Basilica Cistern, Dolmabahce Palace. Besides these top attractions you enjoy a Bosphorus Cruise, Blue Mosque tour and you can benefit of the Hop On Hop Off Bus, Asian Side walking tour. + more details

How to Get to Hagia Sophia Mosque (Map)


Hagia Sophia Mosque Museum Map

Getting to the Hagia Sophia, Hagia Irene, and Hagia Sophia History Museum are pretty easy; they're  centrally located on the Historical Peninsula, in the Old City of Istanbul. That’s why it is easily accessible by public transport.

The best way to get to Hagia Sophia Mosque is by taking the tram; it's the cheapest and easiest way, and you'll get to see some of the city as you ride. The nearest tram stations are Sultanahmet and Gülhane stations. Both are a 7-minute walk away.

From Taksim Square, you can take the funicular F1 to Kabataş. At Kabataş Station, take the tram T1 and go 7 stops to Sultanahmet Station. From there, it is just a couple of minutes to Hagia Sophia Mosque.

>> More information about how to get there

Visitor Information for Hagia Sophia

The Hagia Sophia, located in Istanbul, Turkey, is an iconic architectural masterpiece that has evolved over time. This place is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a global treasure. Originally built as a cathedral, it has become an emblem of cultural evolution, artistic brilliance, and the harmony of religions.. Constructed in the 6th century by Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, it served as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral for almost a millennium. In 1453, it was converted into a mosque, marking the convergence of two great civilizations. In 1935, it was transformed into a museum, embodying Turkey's secular stance. The Hagia Sophia's massive dome, intricate mosaics, and architectural prowess have allowed it to remain the world's largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years.

6 Reasons to Visit Hagia Sophia

6 Reasons to Visit Hagia Sophia

1. A masterwork of architecture: It is a work of architectural genius. The Hagia Sophia is regarded as one of the greatest architectural accomplishments in the world. A monument to the skill and ingenuity of its Byzantine architects, the structure features a colossal dome, towering arches, and beautiful mosaics.

2. It symbolises religious and cultural tolerance: Hagia Sophia was initially constructed as a church, but after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453, it was converted into a mosque. Today, it serves as a museum, and it remains a symbol of Istanbul's rich religious and cultural heritage. 

3. It has beautiful mosaics and art: Many of the mosaics and works of art decorating Hagia Sophia trace back to the Byzantine period. These mosaics depict Christian religious figures and scenes in addition to Ottoman calligraphy and geometric designs. 

4. Long and fascinating history: Hagia Sophia was constructed in the 6th century and has seen numerous modifications over the centuries. It has served as a church, a mosque, and a museum and has witnessed some of the most significant events in the history of Turkey. 

5. A renowned tourist site: Hagia Sophia is one of Istanbul's most popular tourist attractions. Each year, millions of people come to see its beauty and learn about its history.

6. UNESCO World Heritage Site: The Hagia Sophia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which indicates that it is recognised as possessing exceptional universal significance. This designation ensures that future generations will be able to experience Hagia Sophia.

>> Click here for all visitor information!

Hagia Sophia Highlights

Hagia Sophia from Outside

Exterior

Be sure to take the time to explore the outside of the landmark. A distinctive feature is, of course, the four minarets added during the Ottoman period.

You can start exploring this masterpiece in the garden. Here, you can see some surprises that many visitors miss. If you take a closer look, you will discover archaeological findings such as preserved parts of the first Hagia Sophia from the 5th century.

There are also sundials and timers used to calculate prayer times and a round-shaped fountain dating back to 1740.

Hagia Sophia Mosaics

Mosaics

The building features ornate mosaics with a golden color that attracts visitors.

The entrance features an impressive panel depicting the Virgin Mary and Byzantine emperors Constantine and Justinian, holding models of Constantinople and Hagia Sophia. Another panel depicts Emperor Leo VI kneeling in front of Jesus with the Virgin Mary and an archangel.

The most striking mosaics are found in the main hall, with the oldest mosaic of the 9th century featuring the Virgin Mary and Jesus and a mosaic depicting the Archangel Gabriel.

Hagia Sophia Dome

Dome

Hagia Sophia is most famous for its monumental dome. There is a central dome and two half domes, which together carry the massive structure. At the same time, four arches on four columns support the central dome.

In the centre of the dome is a verse from the Quran: "Allah is the light of the world."

Standing under the impressive dome, you can admire the marvellous interior at its best, illuminated by the golden light of countless chandeliers. Soak up the mystical atmosphere of this masterpiece, which undoubtedly hides many stories and details.

Hagia Sophia Calligraphies

Calligraphy Medallions

Another element that immediately attracts the attention of the visitor is the calligraphic medallions mounted high up. There are a total of eight of these huge black panels bearing in gold the names of Allah, the Prophet Muhammad, the four caliphs, and the two grandsons of Muhammad.

In fact, calligraphic medallions were among the first additions after the Ottomans conquered Constantinople and later converted the Church of Hagia Sophia into a mosque. These calligraphic medallions serve as a visual representation of the Islamic faith and its importance in the history of Hagia Sophia. They not only add a touch of grandeur to the interior but also symbolize the religious significance that the Ottomans attached to this iconic structure. 

Hagia Sophia Mihrap

Mihrab

Worth seeing is the ornate Mihrab from 1840 with a prayer niche facing Mecca. You can find it in the apse. Two enormous candelabras, as well as gold ornaments and calligraphic panels with Quranic verses, frame it.

Next to the mihrab is the Muezzins' Tekke, a rectangular marble tekke serving the muezzins who call for prayer. The Muezzins' Tekke is adorned with intricate geometric patterns and beautiful tile work, showcasing the skilled craftsmanship of the era.

Its location next to the mihrab highlights its significance in facilitating the religious rituals of the mosque. Additionally, the tekke provides a serene and peaceful space for the muezzins to prepare themselves before leading the call to prayer. 

Sultan Mahmut Library

Library of Sultan Mahmud I

On the right side of Hagia Sophia lies the library of Sultan Mahmud I. The room, adorned with Iznik tiles and a baroque-style grid, is quite impressive. Although the books have been moved to another library, you can still see the signature of Sultan Mahmud I, who commissioned this addition, and a calligraphy with a quote from the Quran.

The library of Sultan Mahmud I is a testament to the rich cultural and artistic heritage of the Ottoman Empire. The intricate details of the Iznik tiles and the baroque-style grid showcase the opulence and grandeur that characterized the reign of Sultan Mahmud I. It is a fascinating glimpse into the patronage of arts and literature during his time. 

Should I Buy my Hagia Sophia Ticket on-site or online?

Visiting Hagia Sophia is Apart from prayers, touristic trips to the historical mosque are realised with an entrance fee of 25 euros.
As it is one of the most crowded tourist attractions in the world, it can be a somewhat challenging experience as well as an unforgettable one.

Here are a few reasons why you should buy your guided tour ticket online:

- Uncover Hidden Treasures: Although admission to Hagia Sophia is 25€, its true splendour remains hidden without an expert guide. Booking a guided tour online ensures you won't miss out on the rich history, extraordinary architecture, and intriguing stories that make this place a UNESCO World Heritage Site and global treasure.

- Enjoy FlexibilityOnline tour tickets offer complete flexibility, allowing you to easy modify or cancel your reservation if unexpected twists in your itinerary arise. No need to worry about rigid schedules.

- Save Precious Time: By choosing to purchase your Hagia Sophia tour ticket online, you're not just securing a guided tour; you're also gaining valuable time. No more waiting in frustratingly long lines, especially during peak seasons. Enjoy fast access to this incredible landmark and maximize every moment of your visit.

Plan Your Visit to Hagia Sophia

  • Hours

  • Getting There

  • Accessibility

  • Facilities

  • Food

  • Hotel

  • Nearby

  • All National Palaces

Hagia Sophia Mosque

  • Winter Season & Summer Season: Hagia Sophia Mosque has been open 24/7 for praying since 2020, when it started to be a public mosque. For tourists, visiting hours are 09.00–20.30 (last entry: 19.30).

Hagia Sophia History Museum

  • Winter Season & Summer Season: Hagia Sophia History Museum can be visited between 08.00 and 20.00.

Hagia Irene Church

Hagia Sophia Opening Hours

Things to Know Before Visiting the Hagia Sophia

  • Wear Appropriate Clothing: Hagia Sophia is a mosque, so please wear clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Women must also wear a scarf to cover their hair when visiting Hagia Sophia.
  • Remove your shoes. If you are a Muslim tourist, you are not allowed to wear shoes inside Hagia Sophia Mosque. You have to remove your shoes before visiting the mosque section.
  • No Outside Food Allowed: Avoid carrying food inside the Hagia Sophia since it is a religious place.
  • Book a Guided Tour: If you want to learn about the history of Hagia Sophia and explore its highlights, then go for a guided tour of the Hagia Sophia.
  • Unofficial Guides: Beware of unofficial guides inside the structure. It is best to buy tickets for guided tours online in advance from official operators. Guides should wear an official guide badge.
  • Avoid Prayer Hours: Avoid visiting the mosque on Fridays and during prayer times.
  • Admission Fee: The first floor is free for Turks; the second floor (the gallery floor) is 25 euros for local and foreign tourists.
  • Explore during the winter months: Plan your visit during the winter months to explore Hagia Sophia in comfort and avoid crowds and large groups of tourists.
Things to Know Before Visiting the Hagia Sophia

Do I Need a Guided Tour to Visit Hagia Sophia ? 

You do not necessarily need a guided tour if you know the history of the building.
While having prior knowledge of Hagia Sophia is certainly beneficial, opting for a guided tour opens up invaluable benefits:

  • Gain a deeper understanding of Hagia Sophia's rich history. Qualified guides provide insights that go beyond the surface, making your visit more meaningful.
  • Guides reveal hidden gems and intricate detailyou might miss on your own, enhancing your experience.
  • Get answers to your questions and a deeper appreciation of the architecture and cultural significance.

When it comes to tours, there are two main options:

  • Audio Guides: Audio guides allow self-guided exploration. Explore the historical halls and learn at your own pace. Download Your Hagia Sophia Audio Guide Here!
  • Qualified Guided Tours: If you're hungry for in-depth knowledge, a qualified guide is your ultimate companion. Dive deep into the building's history and significance.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hagia Sophia

Is there a dress code at Hagia Sophia?

Yes, there is a dress code at Hagia Sophia. Since the Hagia Sophia Mosque is a place of prayer, all guests are expected to avoid shorts and sleeveless tops. Women must wear a headscarf to enter; you can find one with a charge near the entrance. You must also leave your shoes outside before entering.  >> For more additional information

What is the best time to visit Hagia Sophia?

It is best to visit the Hagia Sophia during the early hours of the morning to experience fewer crowds; avoid Friday afternoons, as it remains closed to non-worshippers during prayers. Try to visit during the winter months to experience pleasant weather.

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Can I enter anytime during operating hours?

You cannot enter the mosque during prayer time. Before planning your visit to Hagia Sophia, ensure that you do not visit the mosque during prayer times.  >> For more additional information

How much time does it take to visit the Hagia Sophia?

You can finish touring the Hagia Sophia in about 30 to 45 minutes; however, if you book a guided tour, it will take you around an hour. You can stay inside the monument for as long as you want. We recommend you book a guided tour to have a hassle-free and more informative experience.  >> For more additional information

Where is the Hagia Sophia located in Istanbul?

Hagia Sophia is located in the European part of Sultanahmet square. Its address is Sultanahmet, Ayasofya Meydanı No:1, 34122 Fatih in İstanbul, Turkey

What is the best way to get to Hagia Sophia?

The best way to reach Hagia Sophia is via tram or metro. If travelling by tram, take tram line T1 to Sultanahmet Square, and for the metro, take the M2 line to Sultanahmet Station.  >> For more additional information 

How many entrances are there at the Hagia Sophia?

There are nine entrances at the Hagia Sophia, but visitors can only use one through the gate in front of the main gate of Topkapi Palace and the water fountain.

Are Strollers allowed in the Hagia Sophia?

Yes, stroller are allowed inside Hagia Sophia, but you have to leave them before entering the praying area.

Is photography permitted inside the Hagia Sophia?

Yes, you can click pictures inside Hagia Sophia, but avoid taking pictures of people who are praying.

Will my luggage be allowed inside the Hagia Sophia?

Big luggage bags are not allowed inside Hagia Sophia. There is no cloakroom available for public use at the Hagia Sophia Mosque.

Are wheelchairs available at the Hagia Sophia?

The first floor of Hagia Sophia Mosque is wheelchair-accessible. Unfortunately, tourists can only visit the second floor of the structure, where wheelchairs are not accessible.

Can I see everything in one visit?

Yes, you can explore every minaret and mosaic inside the Hagia Sophia and Hagia Sophia museum in one visit. You can opt for a 1-hour guided tour to delve deeper into Hagia Sophia's history and have a more informative experience.

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WhaT OUR VISITORS SAY

About Hagia Sophia

My name is Carla and together with my family i did the morning tour to the hagia sophia mosque. We enjoyed a lot the tour and the guide. Very good information and client relation.

Carla - portugal

Had a great and very informative visit to Hagia Sophia with our guide. We learnt a lot about the history and symbolism of the site. He brought us into the Hagia Sophia and directed us skillfuly. Would highly recommend.

alok - usa

Haluk was an awesome tour guide and we loved our experience at the hagia sophia! We recommend this tour

robbıe - usa

Amazing building and nice tour guide we learnt a lot about hagia sophia and Islam. Thank you our guide Hakan !!

frank - germany

Hagia Sophia Visitor Numbers

Customers served! + 1 MILLION VISITORS PER YEAR
Customers served! + 1 k MONTHLY VISITORS
Customers served! + 1 k MONTHLY GUIDED TOURS
Travelers from all around the world come to discover the majestic
Hagia Sophia! This magnificent palace is one of the most visited tourist attractions of Istanbul, and of the world.