The free historic Hagia Sophia is one of the most impressive popular sightseeing tours in all of Istanbul. Archaeologous shares this mega 'world Heritage' site daily on our private tours of Istanbul. Hagia Sophia has quite the reputation as being the largest building on earth for over 1,000 years! It still is the most renowned Byzantine cathedral and the best known Christian church in Istanbul. If you appreciate tenacity, creativity and sheer magnitude you'll be in awe of this structure.
When you are inside try to imagine 537 AD when it was being rebuilt to this unprecedented size and magnificence with the 1,000 craftsmen and 10,000 laborers working for 5 years to accomplish this masterpiece. Especially look at the columns of marble which Emperor Justinian had brought from the mega legendary sacred temples of Baalbek, Heliopolis, Ephesus and Delphi.(which date back 2,500-7,000 years)
Lots of 'warranted' pride as Emperor Justinian shouted his thanks to God for having the honor to have constructed such a magnificent church. History shows he proclaimed,"Solomon, I have surpassed you! Our guides make it all come alive. It's always fun for us to watch the children as they are dwarfed by the sheer size upon entering.
1935, Hagia Sophia went from an active mosque to a museum by order of Ataturk and now we all can enjoy what is considered one of the most significant monuments on earth with its architecture and historical richness. It's centrally located so you can also visit the Blue Mosque, Basilica Cisterns and have lunch all in the area. Happy Travels.