Book this skip-the-line access to one of the world's most recognizable landmarks Hagia Sophia, the C...
Instabul walking tour
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Embark on a journey following the legacy of Istanbul's famous ruler and conqueror, Fatih Sultan Mehmet, and visit ancient treasures of Istanbul as you learn more about the its history.
Tours in Istanbul
AVAILABLE Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
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The Hagia Sophia is so magnificent that not even the transgressions of its Christian and Moslem children could diminish it. A great Byzantian emperor Justinianâ€™s dream, the mathematical genius of Athens, the worshipful awe of Medieval Christendom... Hagia Sophia was all this when it was built in 535ADâ€”and, for 916 years served as a church for the Byzantine Faith. From all corners of the world, people came to worship, reflecting the manner in which its builders brought material from all over the Byzantine Empireâ€”Anatolia, Syriam and Peloponeseâ€”to build the basilica.
In 1204, however, avarice descended upon Constantinople, as Istanbul was then called, as Venetian Crusaders sacked the city and Hagia Sophia, taking their treasures and much of their sanctity.
Over 200 years later, the Ottoman Empire took the city for its own; its Moslem conquerors transformed Hagia Sophia once more into a bastion of faith, the Muslim Faith this time, restoring its grandeur but altering it somewhat by adding minarets fit for a grand Mosque.
In the 1930s, Hagia Sophia was turned into a museum.
Today, Hagia Sophia is a testament to its namesake, Divine Wisdom. One of the most beautiful structures built by man has survived to inspire mutitudes throughout the ages.