Hagia Sophia is a fascinating architectural complex in Istanbul: first, it was an Orthodox church; then, it was converted to a Catholic basilica; next, to an Ottoman mosque. You can see the traces of all those conversions inside the complex. It is a representation of Istanbul’s rich and intervened history itself. Nowadays, it’s a museum and everybody can visit it. Even a cat.
The Paradise Gate, or something like that, I eavesdropped from a tour guide 😀
This huge marble jar, higher than a grown man, dated from BC, used to serve wine to everybody after the mass.
View from 1st floor of the building
The interior has some great mosaics, which are left un-repaired:
Trace of the original church:
Hagia Sophia is under restoration at the moment, so I couldn’t see it in all of its glory, or take deserving photos. But at least the sun was shining bright that day, so I got some nice exterior shots.
If you don’t like queue, come to the gate 5 mins before opening time. There will be 10 people at most before you (and that’s a weekend day). But if you arrive 1h after opening time, that might be a long queue. Buy a simit (turkish circle bread) or a grilled corn for breakfast from hundreds of food wagons around the attraction. Try to stuff all of it into your mouth when the gate opens and the ticket starts to sell. You’ll see, it’s hilarious.