Historical Peninsula Istanbulin Fatih, a district that contains different elements from each other and differentiates itself thanks to this feature. Hagia Sophia MosqueIf your answer is yes, let's discover the secrets of this museum together.

Information about Hagia Sophia Mosque

  • Built between 532-537 by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I (Justinian) within the borders of today's Fatih district, Hagia Sophia is a building built three times in the same place. The reason why it was built three times is that each of the previous churches was destroyed as a result of popular revolts. The name of the building, whose first name was Megala Ekklesia (Great Church), changed over time to Hagia Sophia, which means Holy Wisdom, and the second name of the building has been carried to the present day.
  • The current version of Hagia Sophia was drawn by two famous architects during the time of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. Although Hagia Sophia is a very magnificent building, it is a historical monument that attracts attention with its construction phase taking 5 years. Because 5 years is a very short time for a work of this size.
  • Although Hagia Sophia was looted by the Latins during the 4th Crusade and became quite dilapidated; Hagia Sophia regained a better appearance after the Byzantine Empire recaptured Constantinople in 1261.
  • The Hagia Sophia Church was converted into a mosque on May 29, 1453, when Mehmet the Conqueror conquered Constantinople. The building, which resisted looting and blows, has survived to this day thanks to the buttresses that both the Ottoman Empire and the Byzantine Empire placed to support the work.
  • After it was converted into a mosque, a minbar, muezzin's cloister, hünkar's cloister and a pulpit were added to the interior of Hagia Sophia. In short, the interior of the monument became unique to the Islamic religion.
  • Hagia Sophia was repaired by the famous names of the time, the Fossati Brothers, during the reign of Sultan Abdülmecit in the 19th century. These brothers, who had an important place in Istanbul architecture with their works, became famous in our country, especially for repairing the dome of Hagia Sophia.
  • Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum in 1935 at the request of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and has become one of the most curious historical monuments in Istanbul for locals and tourists.

Materials Used in the Construction of Hagia Sophia

When the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I (Justinian) decided to build Hagia Sophia, his primary goal was to build the most successful place of worship in the world by making a beautiful place from the Temple of Solomon. Byzantine Emperor Justinian I (Justinian), who set out in this direction, sent news to every corner of his empire when he was going to build Hagia Sophia and tried to collect the best quality and beautiful materials for the construction of the building. Materials used in the construction of Hagia Sophia;

  • Columns and marbles: All of the marble and columns used in the building are the remains of ancient cities such as Aspendos, Ephesus and Tarsus.
  • White marbles: Since Hagia Sophia is a very magnificent building, white marbles were also used in some parts of the work. In line with the request of Justinian I (Justinian), who wanted to buy the best of every material, white marbles from Marmara Island were used in the building.
  • Pink marbles Marble from Afyon, a province famous for its pink marble, was also used during the construction of Hagia Sophia.
  • Columns used for the naves: It is known that the columns used in the construction of the naves in the Hagia Sophia Mosque were brought from the Temple of Artemis.
  • Mosaics It is possible to say that all the walls in Hagia Sophia, except for the main materials mentioned above, are covered with beautiful mosaics. These mosaics came from different countries and took their place on the walls of the work.

A Few Mosaic Examples from Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia Apse Mosaic

This mosaic, named the Apse Mosaic because of its location in the museum, is a successful depiction of Mary and Jesus in her lap made of precious stones. While geometric models were used in mosaics until the 6th century in Hagia Sophia, the Depiction Breaker Period followed, and the Apse Mosaic is the first example of this style of mosaics.

Apse Mosaic

Hagia Sophia Deisis Mosaic

The doomsday prayer that marked the beginning of the Renaissance is called Deisis, and a mosaic depicting this scene in which people beg Jesus for mercy is located in Hagia Sophia. The mosaic depicts Mary and John the Baptist pleading with Jesus. In this depiction, Jesus holds the Bible in his left hand and makes the sign of blessing with his right hand. The name of this image is Pantocrator Jesus.

Deisis Mosaic

Hagia Sophia Emperor Alexander Mosaic

Alexander IV's brother Alexander, who is the subject of the Emperor Alexander Mosaic in one of the most secluded corners of Hagia Sophia, has an obscure personality. Although he ruled the country together with his brother, Alexander could not leave much trace in Roman History. It is the most intact mosaic that has survived to the present day due to its location in a secluded corner. Because it was less damaged than other mosaics during the looting.

Wish Pillar

On the northwest side of the Hagia Sophia Museum, there is a pillar called the Wishing Pillar, covered with bronze plates and carved in the center. According to the legend, during the Byzantine Period, a person with a headache observed that his headache disappeared by leaning against this pillar. Afterwards, it was decided that this pillar would become the Wishing Pillar. People started to seek healing by dipping their hands into the space in the center of this column and applying the water from their hands to the diseased parts of their bodies. Another story tells that the wetness in the center of the pillar was Mary's tears.

Today, people make a wish by placing their fingers on the space in the center of this pillar and then rotating their fingers one turn clockwise.

Hagia Sophia Unknowns and Legends

  • Hagia Sophia suffered great damage as a result of looting and earthquakes. We have already mentioned that the building was supported by buttresses to prevent these damages from destroying the building. In addition, the minarets built by Mimar Sinan are among the elements that have been effective in the preservation of the museum until today with their structures that are strong enough to support the building.
  • Hagia Sophia is the oldest cathedral in the world. It is also the fastest built cathedral in the world, which makes it different.
  • Legends attribute the construction of Hagia Sophia in 5 years to spiritual workers, i.e. jinns, fairies and giants. The reason for this is the large mark on the wall of Hagia Sophia. This is thought to be the handprint of a giant.
  • It is believed that the remains of Noah's Ark on Mount Cudi were used in the construction of one of the doors of Hagia Sophia.
  • Another legend about the monument is that materials including the bones of ancient prophets were used to prevent the domes from collapsing. Because the monks of the time advised the emperor in this direction.
  • It is believed that an angel is waiting for Hagia Sophia. Many years ago, when the masters working on the construction of Hagia Sophia went somewhere for a job, they suggested their apprentices to wait at the head of the objects used. A man approached the apprentice who had been waiting for hours and told him that he was tired and that he would wait for the museum for a while. Although the apprentice did not want to leave the objects at first; he could not resist the man's insistence and entrusted everything to him. Afterwards, he told his masters what happened to him. Based on the apprentice's descriptions, the masters thought that the man was an angel and banished the apprentice to his hometown so that this angel could protect Hagia Sophia.
  • According to a legend, the nails used in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ are kept in one of the secret sections of Hagia Sophia.
  • According to another legend, the date of the apocalypse is written on one of the columns of Hagia Sophia. The date on the note written by Hz. Hızır is; yevm-i Pazar, year 1038...

Evening View of Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia Entrance Fee

Current price of entrance to the Hagia Sophia Museum: 250 TL for MuseumCard holders and 500 TL for Turkish citizens. Full Ticket Price is 25€.
Source: muze.gov.tr

Where is Hagia Sophia Mosque Located?

Hagia Sophia is a historical monument located in Fatih district of Istanbul. Since the tram stop passes in front of this building, the most logical way to go is by tram. To reach Hagia Sophia, you must get off at Çemberlitaş Stop on the Bağcılar-Kabataş Tram.

How to get to Hagia Sophia?

Public Transportation: Istanbul has an extensive public transportation network. You can reach Hagia Sophia using any of the metrobus, metro, tram and bus lines in the city. The Sultanahmet tram line passes close to Hagia Sophia.

Taxi IstanbulTaxi service is quite common in Hagia Sophia. You can easily get to Hagia Sophia by taxi. However, the travel time may vary depending on the traffic density.

On foot: If you are in the historical center of Istanbul and close by, you can also walk to Hagia Sophia. Sultanahmet Square and its surroundings is an area that brings together many tourist attractions.

Special Vehicle If you have your own car in Istanbul, you can also go to Hagia Sophia with your private car. However, it may be difficult to find a parking space during rush hour and in the narrow streets of Sultanahmet.