Hagia Sofia – One of Istanbul’s most beautiful
This Cathedral/Mosque/Museum is plenty older than anybody you know and is on the list of everybody’s things to see while in Istanbul (which is generally a long list). It is an absolute treat to the eyes and brain with its very intense and developed history. The building remains from its first creation in 360AD.
Kelly and I, not knowing enough information and not having much pre-reading before going to the Hagia Sofia, decide on this rare occasion to also buy an audio guide on entrance. Thank god we did! Their is so much in all of these buildings that the average tourist misses. Yes of course it did cost an extra 15TL on top of the 25TL ticket for entrance (no student discount) but the information provided was well worth the effort. Also the audio guide has 2 earphone jacks so we managed to use the one device between us.
Little pieces of information were told from the device like: being directed to where the King sat during the Byzantine era (360-1453AD), to how and why the doors were shaped and sized, why the floor was worn in certain places and what all the hundreds of mosaics meant and why they were exactly where they were. I am all for saving money but learning is the reason we visit these places. With about 50 audio tracks to listen to our craving for knowledge were definitely fixed.
Overall this majestic building was an absolute treasure, with history continuing on from Byzantines to Ottoman’s reign when it was converted to a Mosque from 1453 onwards. The building is spectacular with golden mosaics, big wooded doors with brass coatings and perfectly crafted marble floors. It is an absolute must and one of the best and biggest sights we have seen on our world trip so far. It is compared in amazement to the Topkapi Palace which we visited just after the Hagia Sophia. Also check the posts on the Grand Bazaar and Spice Markets.