What you need to know about the Hagia Sophia 2024

Last Updated on January 15, 2024

The Hagia Sophia

The Hagia Sophia is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Istanbul, and it is well worth your time. The architecture is incredible, the history is rich, and the mosaics and paintings are breathtaking. For more on the history of the Hagia Sophia, read here.

Having been a national museum for the past 86 years, on July 10, 2020 it was reverted back to a mosque for Muslims to worship in. The Turkish courts decided that because the Hagia Sophia belonged to the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Khan Foundation, that the government did not have the right to change the status to a museum back in 1934.

Starting January 15th, 2024, Hagia Sophia implemented a new visitor management policy, separating worshippers from tourists visiting for cultural reasons. Tourists are charged a 25 euro entrance fee and can access the mosque's gallery floor, where they can view the sanctuary, Ottoman-era annexes, and Byzantine-era mosaics. The policy includes enhanced security measures, restoration efforts, and a QR code system providing information in 23 languages, aimed at preserving the site and improving visitor experience without disrupting worshippers. You can find more information on the official site.

Not a history buff? This is why you should still visit the Hagia Sophia:

It is more than sufficient for you to know some basic historical information about Hagia Sophia and we guarantee that it will be a memorable visit. You don’t have to learn the names and the dates behind the place to enjoy your visit there. Hagia Sophia is more about the spiritual peaceful feeling you will experience from visiting such a holy place. It is a unique visit to an architectural icon where you could take amazing pictures thanks to the breathtaking exterior and interior design. 

Art historians consider the building’s beautiful mosaics to be the main source of knowledge about the state of mosaic art in the time shortly after the end of the Iconoclastic Controversy in the 8th and 9th centuries. 



You will see how people worship and pray there and get introduced to some interesting traditions like placing the thumb in the hole at the wishing column which is believed to have healing powers. We believe that Hagia Sophia has the power to change your perspective on cultural tourism.

Visiting Etiquette

All visitors, Muslims and non-Muslims, are welcomed to visit the Hagia Sophia mosque but there are some rules that should be followed in order to show respect to the holy place. Firstly, visitors should remove their shoes before stepping onto the mosque's carpets and their feet should be covered with socks or a plastic cover. Secondly, women should wear a head covering when entering Hagia Sophia. Headscarves are available at the Hagia Sophia Mosque entrance without a fee. Finally, It is required from men to visit the mosque wearing pants, not shorts. Photography is definitely allowed but make sure to stay quiet and do not disturb or stand in front of anyone praying. There is no entrance fee to visit the mosque and if you followed the previous rules you will definitely be more than welcomed there.

Finally … How to get there?

The Hagia Sophia is very close to other popular sights like the Blue Mosque, the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, and Topkapı Palace. As a result, you could plan to spend the whole day exploring this amazing historical area of Istanbul. In order to get there, you can take the tram to the Sultanahmet station then walk through the park to reach your destination.

The Hagia Sophia represents the ebb and flow of history in both an artistic and spiritual way. Get ready for a rich journey through the centuries and to be awed by inspiring stories and breathtaking architecture.


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