Aya Sofya

Price guide: Mid-range

Ayasofya Meydanı, Sultanahmet, Istanbul

Price guide: Mid-range

Aya Sofya
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#2 of 20
expert-rated things to do in Istanbul
Expert overall rating:4.8 out of 5
Value for money:
Recommended for:
Culture vultures, Design and architecture, History

Best for First-time visitors - Expert review of Aya Sofya

Awe-inspiring Byzantine building with a rich, complex history.

Constructed as a Christian basilica in the 6th century, this architecturally stunning building – the largest enclosed space in the world for nearly a millennia – is also richly evocative of the complex history (and present) of religion in the lands that form modern Turkey. Upon conquering Istanbul, one of the first things Sultan Mehmet II did was convert the church into a mosque. (It’s now a museum.) You only need gaze up at its 56-meter-high dome to understand what made it this symbolic structure such a coveted prize.

Price advice: 

Admission is 20 lira.

Expert tips: 
Keep an eye out for the recently revealed angel mosaic high up in the central hall, visible for the first time since 1849.
Skip the pricey tour guides offering their services outside. Most displays in the museum have English labels.

More information on Aya Sofya:

Price guide:
Architectural site, Historic site, Religious site
Ayasofya Meydanı, Sultanahmet, Istanbul
0212 528 45 00
Months open:
All year round
Opening times:
Tue-Sun 9am-7pm. Upper galleries close 6.30pm. Closed Mondays.

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