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Hagia Sophia

Istanbul, Turkey

Cultural Treasure

Constructed in the 6th century, the Hagia Sophia symbolized the power of the west and the influence it hopes to exert towards the east. In fact, it was quoted in the 10th century that upon entering The Holy Wisdom, (Hagia Sophia) one knows “not whether they were in Heaven or on earth.” At the time of its construction, the Hagia Sophia was the largest indoor space ever constructed and has stood as the centerpiece of Istanbul for more than 1,500 years. For two-thirds of that time it served as a church, and the most important in the Byzantine empire. For 500 years that followed, the structure was converted into a mosque. The modern Turkey Republic declared it a museum in the 1935 only for it to be reverted back to a mosque in 2020. Regardless it’s identity, the Hagia Sophia is one of the worlds greatest architectural masterpieces.

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In the heart of Istanbul, west of the Bosporus, the “European” side of the city.


First constructed by the Byzantine emperor Justinian between 532 and 537, then later becoming a mosque in the 15th century.


It originally served as the seat of religious and political power for the Byzantine Empire. The building was said to have shaped the history of architecture.


The Republic of Turkey changed the building back to a mosque in 2020. It remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.

Our Visit

Any first-time visit to Istanbul will surely have this architectural masterpiece near the top of the list - as it was for us in our first visit to the city in 2018. It was a unique experience visiting this former church as it appears to struggle in its modern identity. It is still wonder of architecture in this world, but its potpourris history - church to mosque to museum, and now back to mosque - leaves it feeling overwhelming. Perhaps that is a perfect way to describe modern Istanbul, an overwhelming city juggling two continents, multiple faiths and thousands of years of history. However, there is no city quite like it and the Hagia Sophia will surely be visited time and again.


Explore More

Nearby Treasures:

     ➨  Topkapı Palace - 1 km away

Similar Treasures:

     ➨  Haghpat Monastery - Armenia

     ➨  Taj Mahal - India

Travel to the Silk Road Outpost:

     ➨  Constantinople

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