COVID-19 alert: Travel requirements are changing rapidly, including need for pre-travel COVID-19 testing and quarantine on arrival.

Hagia Sophia
Holiday Travel Guide

Once a church, then a Byzantine cathedral, later a mosque and now a monument, this iconic building is a national treasure.

As one of the finest architectural marvels, as well as one of the largest churches, in the world, Hagia Sophia is Istanbul’s most famous landmark. The building you see today represents many cultures.

Known in Turkish as “Ayasofya” (Sacred Wisdom), Hagia Sophia has been of major religious importance to the region, and for various faiths. The church was first commissioned by the Romans and was opened in A.D. 360 before becoming Constantinople’s main Christian place of worship. After riots destroyed the building not once but twice, a new basilica was eventually built in the sixth century, and the Hagia Sophia became the center of Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

When the Ottoman Empire took control of Constantinople in 1453, Hagia Sophia was turned into a mosque. Its Christian features were covered or removed, and new Islamic features were added. Shortly after the Turkish Republic was proclaimed, Constantinople became Istanbul and the mosque was closed. The national monument is now open to the public as a museum.

With its four spectacular minarets and its grand central dome, the Hagia Sophia dominates the Istanbul skyline. Enter the church via the western portal. From the exonarthex, five portals open into the narthex. Admire ninth-century mosaics and 10th-century frescos from the Christian faiths. Note that the dome is decorated with Islamic inscription of verses from the Quran. The eastern corner of the gardens house the mausoleums of several sultans.

Since the Hagia Sophia is Istanbul’s leading cultural treasure, there are often long lines outside. However, visitors rarely have to wait more than half an hour to get in. Refreshments can be bought from a number of different cafés in the square.

Hagia Sophia is located in the Old City, and is accessible by public transport. The building is open daily, except Mondays. Visiting hours are longer in summer. Buy your entry ticket at the museum’s box office. Consider renting an audio guide to get a better understanding of the educational and cultural value of the Hagia Sophia.

Top things to do in Hagia Sophia

Top Trending Hotels Near Hagia Sophia

Sultanahmet Nu Hotel
Sultanahmet Nu Hotel
Binbirdirek Mahallesi, Dizdariye Yokusu Sokak no 6, Istanbul, Istanbul
The price is £21 per night from 8 Mar to 9 Mar

Located in Sultanahmet, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Cemberlitas Bath, Grand Bazaar and Blue Mosque. Sultanahmet Square and Basilica Cistern are ...

4/5Very Good! (90 reviews)

"Overall great experience, everyone was nice to meet and room service was great!"…"

Reviewed on 10 Dec 2020

Sultanahmet Nu Hotel
Sultanhan Hotel - Special Class
Sultanhan Hotel - Special Class
4 out of 5
Piyer Loti Cad No:7, Istanbul, Istanbul
The price is £46 per night from 1 Mar to 2 Mar

Located in Sultanahmet, this spa hotel is steps away from Cemberlitas Bath and Column of Constantine. Sultanahmet Square and Blue Mosque are also within 10 minutes. ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (987 reviews)

"Close to all tourists attractions, very nice and helpful staff"…"

Reviewed on 22 Feb 2021

Sultanhan Hotel - Special Class
Levni Hotel & Spa
Levni Hotel & Spa
4.5 out of 5
Ankara Caddesi No: 12 Sirkeci, Istanbul, Istanbul
The price is £45 per night from 1 Mar to 2 Mar

This family-friendly Istanbul hotel is located in the historical district, within a 10-minute walk of New Mosque, The Egyptian Bazaar and Basilica Cistern. Grand ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (871 reviews)

"Very clean hotel and very nice and helpful staff!!! All staff are helpful and nice attitude. The hotel located in best location literally minutes walking from grand bazar, Egyptian bazar, close to all restaurants, close to Galata tower. Very recommended."…"

Reviewed on 18 Jan 2021

Levni Hotel & Spa
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Top Hagia Sophia Flight + Hotel Deals

Antis Hotel - Special Class
Hotel Yasmak Sultan
Armagrandi Spina Hotel
Don't see what you're looking for?
See all available trips from London to Hagia Sophia
View all trips

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Hagia Sophia

Image for Top Things to Do in Istanbul for Football Fans

Top Things to Do in Istanbul for Football Fans

Top Things to Do in Istanbul for Football Fans
Image for A Guide to Shopping in Istanbul

A Guide to Shopping in Istanbul

A Guide to Shopping in Istanbul
Image for The Top Ten Unique Hotels in Istanbul

The Top Ten Unique Hotels in Istanbul

The Top Ten Unique Hotels in Istanbul

Popular places to visit in Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

Choose two or more items and save on your trip:

Top Hotel Deals

Sultanahmet Nu Hotel
Sultanahmet Nu Hotel
Binbirdirek Mahallesi, Dizdariye Yokusu Sokak no 6, Istanbul, Istanbul
The price is £21 per night from 8 Mar to 9 Mar
Sultanahmet Nu Hotel
Sultanhan Hotel - Special Class
Sultanhan Hotel - Special Class
4 out of 5
Piyer Loti Cad No:7, Istanbul, Istanbul
The price is £46 per night from 1 Mar to 2 Mar
Sultanhan Hotel - Special Class
Levni Hotel & Spa
Levni Hotel & Spa
4.5 out of 5
Ankara Caddesi No: 12 Sirkeci, Istanbul, Istanbul
The price is £45 per night from 1 Mar to 2 Mar
Levni Hotel & Spa
Swissotel The Bosphorus Istanbul
Swissotel The Bosphorus Istanbul
5 out of 5
Visnezade Mah. Acisu Sok. NO. 19, Macka Besiktas, Istanbul, Istanbul
The price is £138 per night from 1 Mar to 2 Mar
Swissotel The Bosphorus Istanbul
The Marmara Pera
The Marmara Pera
4 out of 5
Mesrutiyet Cad. Tepebasi, Istanbul, Istanbul
The price is £45 per night from 3 Mar to 4 Mar
The Marmara Pera
Erten Konak - Special Class
Erten Konak - Special Class
4 out of 5
Akbiyik Caddesi, Akbiyik Degirmeni Sokak 8/10, Istanbul, Istanbul
The price is £18 per night from 16 Mar to 17 Mar
Erten Konak - Special Class
Sura Hagia Sophia Hotel
Sura Hagia Sophia Hotel
5 out of 5
Divanyolu Cd. Alemdar Mah., Ticarethane Sk. No 10 Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Istanbul
The price is £69 per night from 1 Mar to 2 Mar
Sura Hagia Sophia Hotel
Antusa Palace Hotel & Spa
Antusa Palace Hotel & Spa
Alemdar Mah. Dr.Emin Pasa Sokak No:7, Sultanahmet, Fatih, Istanbul, Istanbul
The price is £29 per night from 1 Mar to 2 Mar
Antusa Palace Hotel & Spa
Hagia Sofia Mansions Istanbul, Curio Collection by Hilton
Hagia Sofia Mansions Istanbul, Curio Collection by Hilton
Kabasakal Cad. No:5 Sultanahmet, Fatih, Istanbul
The price is £82 per night from 22 Mar to 23 Mar
Hagia Sofia Mansions Istanbul, Curio Collection by Hilton
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.