Hagia Sophia Museum
The most striking feature of Istanbul's history undoubtedly is that it was the capital of three universal empires: the Roman Empire, Byzantine and the Ottoman Empire. In the 4th century, the Roman Empire expanded. Thanks to its strategic location, Istanbul was chosen as the new capital instead of Rome by Emperor Constantine the Great. The city was rearranged for over six years and the city walls were expanded. Temples, official buildings, palaces, baths, and the hippodrome were built during that period. It was officially announced that the city was the capital of the Roman Empire in 330 A.D. Among the people, the city has been called "Police" throughout its history. It is understood that the emperors after Constantine the Great continued their efforts to beautify the city. The first churches in the city were built after Constantine’s reign.
Visit Hagia Sophia Museum and dive into its history and explore this unique structure with Istanbul Tourist Pass’ advantages.
Who built Hagia Sophia?
After the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century, Istanbul became the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) for many years. The city was rebuilt in the Byzantine period. The magnificent city walls of Istanbul were built by Emperor Theodosius II. In the sixth century, the city had more than half a million inhabitants and another Golden Age was experienced under the rule of Emperor Justinian. Hagia Sophia, which has survived until today, is an architectural work that was built during this period. Hagia Sophia, one of the unique and surviving monuments of the world's architectural history, also has an essential place for art history. The famous Hagia Sophia is recognizable by its masterpiece artworks.
History of Hagia Sophia
The first Hagia Sophia was built as a basilica with a wooden roof, stone walls, and three naves on the ruins of the Temple of Artemis in the north-south direction with the influence of Byzantine architects and scientists who visited the Eastern cultures. According to a Byzantine manuscript of the 9th century, the architect of the first Hagia Sophia was named Efratas. Although there are no remains of this temple today, the stamps of Megale Ekklesia in the warehouse of the Hagia Sophia Museum are thought to belong to this first temple.
The roof of Hagia Sophia was burned during an uprising in 381. Later, because of the rebellion in 404, it was completely burned. By order of Theodosius II, construction of the second Hagia Sophia began in 408 and the church was opened in 415. This second church was destroyed by the Nika Rebellion in 532.
After this uprising, Hagia Sophia was built for the third and last time. This structure, which has survived since its construction, is the third structure. The construction process started in 532 and the church was opened in 537. According to sources, on the day of the opening of Hagia Sophia, the emperor Justinian entered the temple and, referring to the temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, said: “O Solomon! I surpassed you!”
You can join Istanbul Tourist Pass’ tours for a unique journey into the history of Hagia Sophia.
Who turned Hagia Sophia into a mosque?
The last Orthodox ritual in Hagia Sophia was held on 28 May 1453 to encourage the Byzantine army. Statesmen and the public, including the Emperor, attended this service. A day later, Fatih Sultan Mehmet, who entered the city in the afternoon, came to Hagia Sophia, got down from his horse and entered the Hagia Sophia for a while. Fatih Sultan Mehmet ordered the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
During the Ottoman period, in the 16th and 17th centuries, the mihrabs, pulpit, and sermon were added to the Hagia Sophia. The most crucial change in the mosque's exterior was the addition of four minarets. The restoration works started by Fatih Sultan Mehmet in Hagia Sophia during the Ottoman period were continued by the later Sultans. The most essential repairs in Hagia Sophia were made by the Swiss Fossati Brothers between 1847-1849 by order of Sultan Abdulmecid. One of the most essential Ottoman additions to the structure was the library, built by Sultan Mahmud I in 1739, between the two pillars in the southern part of the building.
Hagia Sophia served as a mosque in Istanbul until 1934. On 9 September 1934, the official newspaper of the state, Cumhuriyet newspaper, announced that Hagia Sophia would become a museum. It was determined that the entrance fee would be 10 kurus on 21 November 1934 and the decision was completed on 24 November 1934 by the Cabinet. In 1985, Hagia Sophia was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Hagia Sophia Museum: An Attraction Point
Today, Hagia Sophia Museum is one of the most visited attractions in Istanbul and perhaps the foremost one. You can visit the Hagia Sophia Museum and visit the museum's website if you would like to find out more information. If you wonder where is the Hagia Sophia museum, rest assured that it is in the best place in the city. Everyone visiting Istanbul will visit Hagia Sophia, which is a pearl of the historic peninsula in which it sits. It stands in the most important place overlooking the Marmara Sea and the Bosphorus Strait in the city of Istanbul, which brings together continents and civilizations.
Today, the Hagia Sophia continues to exist as a symbol of bringing civilizations together and, despite all the controversy, it keeps historical importance.
Are you ready to experience this unique structure with Istanbul Tourist Pass’ experience in the city that unites civilizations and continents? You can buy Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace guided tours in Sultanahmet. You can easily walk from the Hagia Sophia to the Grand Bazaar. However, you need to use Istanbul Airport Shuttle or the transfer service to go from Istanbul airport to Hagia Sophia.
Would you like to explore the Hagia Sophia with free tours of Istanbul Tourist Pass and turn your Istanbul trip into an unforgettable experience? Famously spanning two continents, Istanbul has so much to offer its visitors and Istanbul Tourist Pass is the platform to plan&save and organize your group tours. With the benefits of Istanbul Tourist Pass, you can have Free Access to 35+ Attractions & Services including Guided Museum Tours, Dinner Cruise, Istanbul Hop-on & Hop-off Bus and more… If you want to have fun, you can go to Xtrem Aventures Istanbul show with the opportunities that Istanbul Tourist Pass offers you. The event is suitable for both children and adults. Or, if you are looking for something cultural, the Pera Museum Tour is waiting for you in Beyoglu in all its glory.
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