Hagia Sophia Mosque

The UNESCO World Heritage Site Hagia Sophia is an iconic Istanbul landmark. It represents the city's rich history and culture and is a religious and cultural monument for all religions. In this guide, you can find everything about Hagia Sophia.

HISTORY / ARCHITECTURE

About Hagia Sophia Mosque

The Hagia Sophia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and major tourist site in Istanbul, was originally built in the 6th century CE as a Christian church.

Golden mosaics, marble interiors, and a sizable central dome are some of its architectural highlights.

It is actually the second Hagia Sophia we are visiting today. The Hagia Sophia suffered extensive damage from a fire in 404 CE, but Justinian I restored it. The second Hagia Sophia, larger and greater than the first, was used as the Orthodox Church's centre and an important pilgrimage destination for Christians worldwide.

The Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople in 1453 and converted the Hagia Sophia into the Ayasofya mosque. 

In 1931, the Turkish government secularised the Hagia Sophia, converting it into a museum and opening it to the public. In 2020, they transformed and published it again as a mosque.

The Hagia Sophia represents religious and cultural harmony since it serves as a place of pilgrimage for Christians, Muslims, and people of other religions.


Dress Code for Visiting the Hagia Sophia Mosque

Here are Some Tips For Dressing Appropriately For a Visit to Hagia Sophia;

  • Women: must wear long skirts that cover their knees or pants and a long-sleeved shirt or blouse that covers the shoulders. It is also necessary to wear a headscarf.
  • Men: must wear knee-length pants and a long-sleeved shirt or t-shirt. Tank tops and shorts are not permitted.
  • Children: Children under the age of eight are exempt from the clothing code.

Quick Facts About Hagia Sophia Mosque

  • Original Name: Hagia Sophia (Greek - Holly Wisdom)
  • Built: From 532 to 537 
  • Architects: Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles & Mimar Sinan
  • Architectural Style: Byzantine architecture
  • Size: Approximately 18.58061 m² - 56 m High
  • Visitors: Over 6 Million visitors every year
  • Address: Sultan Ahmet, Ayasofya Meydanı No:1, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul

Things to Know About the Hagia Sophia Mosque

Here you can find frequently asked questions about the Hagia Sophia and everything you need to know before visiting.

Let's get to know these masterpieces of human ingenuity more closely!

Current Visitor Information as of January 15, 2024

For all guests, here are the new guidelines as of today, January 15, 2024.
Foreign visitors will only be able to visit the Hagia Sophia second floor (gallery's section)  as part of the new arrangement that the Ministry of Culture and Tourism has put in place as part of restoration and protection efforts.

Admission Fee: €25 for all visitors, including Turkish citizens and foreigners who have a legal residence permit in Turkey.

  • The first floor is free for Turks; the second floor (the gallery floor) is 25 euros for local and foreign tourists.
  • Children younger than 8 are allowed in for free.
  • Müzekart, Museum Pass Türkiye, and Museum Pass Istanbul are not valid.

Audio Guide: Visitors can use their phones or disposable headphones to get 23-language audio instructions using a QR code app for 100 TL without disturbing those who are praying.

Entrance: The gallery area can now only be accessed through the gate in front of the main gate of Topkapi Palace and the water fountain, under the minaret of Beyazid II on the south facade of the mosque, and after the tour on the gallery floor, the exit is made with the ramp in the northeast direction.

Rules: As Hagia Sophia is still a mosque, guests must follow the mosque's dress code, even if they are just looking at the second floor. Women must cover their hair and dress appropriately.

At the ticket office, you can also get single-use headphones for 100 TL, a skirt for 75 TL, and a scarf for 30 TL.

With the new application, it is aimed at separating those who come to the mosque for worship from those who visit for touristic purposes, preventing density at the entrances, and enabling tourists to visit without disturbing the worship environment.

New facilities with current updates:

  • The gallery floor is not wheelchair accessible; thereby, only the first level (prayer area) is accessible.
  • There is no toilet accessible forthose visiting the galley floor.
  • Tourism is no longer allowed in the prayer area on the first floor; visitors are only allowed in the gallery on the second floor.
  • Free prayer area entrance is available to Muslim tourists at Hagia Sophia only during prayer times. The gate faces Sultanahmet Square (old gate).

Where is the Hagia Sophia Mosque Located?

The Hagia Sophia Mosque is located in Istanbul, at Sultanahmet Square, next to Topkapı Palace and the Blue Mosque.

Adress: Sultan Ahmet, Ayasofya Meydanı No:1, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul

How Much are the Ticket Prices?

Hagia Sophia Mosque section has been open to prayers 24/7 for free since 2020.

€25 for all visitors, including Turkish citizens and foreigners who have a legal residence permit in Turkey.

How Long Does a Visit Take?

If you want to explore Hagia Sophia with your own pace, it would

take 30 minutes.


With a guided tour would take 1 hour to 1.5 hours.

When is The Best Time to Visit?

Visiting Hours: 09.00 - 20.30 (Last entry 19.30)
Best Time to Visit Hagia Sophia Mosque: 
in the morning before the crowds arrive.

Plan Your Visit to the Hagia Sophia

Plan Your Visit to the Hagia Sophia Mosque 

Location

Hagia Sophia Mosque is located in Sultanahmet Square, behind Topkapı Palace and Hagia Irene Church. In front of the Hagia Sophia History Museum and the Blue Mosque.


You can walk from the Grand Bazaar in 20 minutes.


Adress: Sultan Ahmet, Ayasofya Meydanı No:1, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul


 >> For more information

Getting to Hagia Sophia

 - Walk: Located in Sultanahmet Square, you can walk from the Grand Bazaar in 25 minutes.

 - Marmaray: Sirkeci Station, just a 15-minute walk away

 - Tram: Sultanahmet and Gülhane

station.

 - Bus: 18-minute walk away at Sarayburnu Station.

 - Taxi: transportation to Hagia Sophia is not recommended due to the difficulty


 >> For more information

Opening Hours of Hagia Sophia

Winter Season & Summer Season:


Visiting Hours: 09.00 - 20.30 (Last entry 19.30)

Hagia Sophia Mosque has been open

to prayers 24/7 since 2020, when it

started to be a public mosque.
Best Time to Visit Hagia Sophia Mosque: Avoid praying times especially Friday noon.


 >> For more information

* Everyday open for tourist 09.00 - 20.30 (Last entry 19.30)

* You should avoid praying times, especially Friday noon.


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

Frequently Asked Questions About Hagia Sophia Mosque

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

You can finish touring the Hagia Sophia in about 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.

 >> Check best guided tour tickets here

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.  >> Check for more additional information 

Is photography permitted inside the Hagia Sophia?

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

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. Learn more about visitor information!

Is the Hagia Sophia wheelchair accessible?

The gallery floor is not wheelchair accessible; thereby, only the first level (prayer area) is accessible. The first floof of the mosque has ramps to help visitors in wheelchairs navigate around the attraction.

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