Free Hagia Sophia Tour

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Istanbul is a city like no other. It was the capital of three universal empires: The Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, and the Ottoman Empire. Hagia Sophia is no doubt the most iconic structure in Istanbul. Book Free Tour Hagia Sophia and explore this unique structure known as the 8th wonder of the world with a professional local guide.

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Itinerary

Free Tour Hagia Sophia starts every day (except Fridays) at 09:00 am  next to the decorative pool between Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque at the Sultanahmet Square. Just look for our professional local tour guides with red t-shirt and/or umbrella!

During this one-hour tour, you will have the opportunity to explore Hagia Sophia, a center of worship for Christians and Muslims for many centuries, with a professional local tour guide. Due to its dual religious usage over the centuries, this unique building is a mix of Byzantine and Ottoman splendor and beauty. Once a cathedral now a mosque, Hagia Sophia is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Hagia Sophia is one of the most important structures in Istanbul with its unique architecture, fascinating history, religious importance and extraordinary characteristics. It is known as the oldest and fastest-completed cathedral. With its breathtaking domes, monolithic marble columns and fascinating early Christian mosaics, Hagia Sophia is a masterpiece in the world history. Free Tour Hagia Sophia is a must for anyone visiting Istanbul.

Tour Highlights

Learn about the remarkable history of Hagia Sophia

Marvel at the stunning early Christian mosaics

Learn about the Ottoman legacy in Hagia Sophia

Visit tombs of the Ottoman Sultans and their families

Get a deeper understanding of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires

Attention:  Hagia Sophia is a mosque so there is a dress code to enter this building. Men must wear long trousers. Women must cover their hair and arms as well as their legs from the knees up. Attendants may be asked to buy robes to wear if their normal sightseeing clothing is not modest, with minimal exposed flesh. Footwear is not important as you will be asked to remove it before entering the mosque.

Where do the Free Hagia Sophia tours start?

Free Tour Hagia Sophia meets at the Sultanahmet Square, next to the decorative pool.

How will I recognize the guide?

Our professional tour guides wear a red t-shirt/coat and carry a red umbrella.

Do I have to pre-book?

Yes. You need to pre-book Free Tour Hagia Sophia on our website. Please come to the meeting point 10 minutes before the tour starts.  Let us know if you are coming with a big group (10+ people).

How long does the tour last?

Free Tour Hagia Sophia is approximately one hour.

Do you take any breaks on Free Tour Hagia Sophia?

No. There is no break during this tour.

What is the price of this tour?

The tour is free. It does not cost you anything. Yet, this is a tip-based tour. At the end of the tour, you are welcome to tip your guide depending on your enjoyment of the service. Some people give 10€ and some others give 50€. You decide what the tour was worth.

Are tours suitable for children?

Yes. Our free tours are designed to be suitable for people of all ages.

Are tours wheelchair-accessible?

Yes. Our free walking tours are wheelchair accessible. Keep in mind that we are ready to arrange private tours geared towards your needs and preferences.

Do you offer private Istanbul tours?

Yes. We offer private tours in English, Spanish, French and German languages. Please contact us for further information.

How do I find the group photo from my tour?

You can find your group photos from our social media accounts.

 

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MORE INFORMATION ABOUT HAGIA SOPHIA TOUR 

GEM IN THE WORLD’S HISTORY OF ARCHITECTURE

ONCE A CHURCH, LATER AN IMPERIAL MOSQUE, LATER A MUSEUM, NOW A MOSQUE AGAIN

The Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque (Ayasofya-i Kebir Cami-i Şerifi), with its ingenious architecture, fascinating history, religious importance and exceptional characteristics has been the most striking feature of Istanbul’s history for centuries. It is the largest Eastern Roman Church in Istanbul and known to be the world’s oldest and fastest-completed cathedral. The building had been constructed three times in the same location. With its astonishing domes, monolithic marble columns and breathtaking mosaics, it is undoubtedly one of the masterpieces of world’s architecture history.

A MOSQUE DURING THE OTTOMAN PERIOD

Today’s Hagia Sophia is the third building that had been constructed in the same place with a distinctive architectural perspective than its predecessors. Anthemios from Tralles (Aydin) and Isidoros from Miletos (Balat) built this magnificent building by the order of Emperor Justinianos. The construction started in 532 and was completed in five years. After its completion, the cathedral was opened for worship in 537 with a magical ceremony. When Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror conquered Istanbul, he converted it into his imperial mosque. Hagia Sophia continued its existence with the addition of Ottoman architectural elements and turned into a museum in 1935. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the mihrabs, pulpit, and sermon were added to the Hagia Sophia. The most drastic change was the addition of four minarets. Another essential Ottoman addition was the library built by the order of Sultan Mahmud I. The most fundamental repairs were made by the Swiss Fossati Brothers by the order of Sultan Abdulmecid. Famous for its Imperial Gate, Beautiful Gate (Splendid Door) and Marble Gate, Hagia Sophia has 104 columns, some of which are brought from ancient cities. The “Omphalion” section where the emperors were crowned stands out with marble artistry like these pillars.

MOSAICS, SERMON CHAIRS: WELL WORTH SEEING!

Hagia Sophia allures people by not only with its breathtaking architectural design, but also by its gold-plated, silver-plated, glass, terracotta and colored stone mosaics, and the original ceiling mosaics of the 6th century with their floral and geometric motifs. The mosaics with figures following the icon ban in the 8th century especially Mother Mary depicted with child Jesus in her arms, the Archangel Gabriel and the Archangel Michael and Deisis stage mosaics are well worth seeing. Another must-see attraction is Sultan Abdulmecid’s Mosaic tughra that was built between 1847 and 1849 during the restoration by the Fossati brothers. Two solid marble cubes in the side aisles were brought from the ancient city of Bergama during the reign of Sultan Murad III.

The Hagia Sophia Mosque is known for its exterior as well as its interior. The mausoleums of Ottoman Sultans outside the building are among the first to visit. There are tombs of princes and mausoleums of Sultan Selim II, Sultan Murad III, Sultan Mehmed III, Sultan Mustafa I, and Sultan Ibrahim. The four minarets of Hagia Sophia, known to be built by Mimar Sinan, the fountain of Sibyan (elementary) school, the clock room, the fountains, buttresses, the treasury building, and the soup kitchen are also must-see attractions of this magnificent building

1 review for Free Hagia Sophia Tour

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    5 out of 5

    Selma Altay

    Guide was excellent, really well informed and entertaining. I had a wonderful time, weather was good, so well worth my time and money.

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