Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia is one of the oldest structures we've been in. It's beautiful but didn't live up to the hype.

Part of that may be due to them introducing an entry fee two days before we arrived. Not that we mind paying to enter; someone needs to pay for the endless renovations and tourism takes its toll. We walked over to look at the exterior the evening we arrived. It was open until 9:00 PM. The line to purchase tickets was never very long and staff were very helpful explaining the new system and different ticket options. We were able to purchase tickets with a credit card. 

Hagia Sophia has been a cathedral, a mosque, and a museum. It’s currently a mosque again and the “tourist track” is around the second floor gallery; it does not include the ground floor reserved for prayer. 

I don’t think we missed much not being able to go to the main floor but have no comparison. You get a good view from the second floor.

The details are beautiful and I appreciate that there are still some rough areas. It is a very old building. 

Some of the stone work is fascinating. 

Remaining mosaics are highlighted. I enjoyed some of the painted plaster work. 

The exterior of Hagia Sophia in the late afternoon, bringing out the red color.

Hagia Sophia exterior