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“Beautiful inside ridiculous crowds”

Hagia Sophia Museum / Church (Ayasofya)
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US$49.63*
and up
Skip the Line: Hagia Sophia plus Grand Bazaar in...
Ranked #4 of 1,137 things to do in Istanbul
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: This architectural marvel displays 30 million gold tiles throughout its interior, and a wide, flat dome which was a bold engineering feat at the time it was constructed in the 6th century.
Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

This is a stunning museum, having been a church and mosque etc. The architecture is amazing and you wonder how the built it.

We used a lonely planet guide which worked as a guide, there are audio guides available at additional cost.

Even having a museum pass the cue was still over 30 mins to get in. They did not have a good system for screening people or advising what line to be in our for fast tracking people with passes.

It was also closed at random when the president was in which probably made crowds worse the next day.

Tip. Get there early, get the five day pass at one of the smaller or less popular museums then come back. Our may save you time.

1  Thank Oren F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Aya Sophia is one of the oldest complete structural building in the world. must visit when you are in Istanbul.

Thank M A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Firstly, go in the morning to avoid the crowds! I recommend you arrive 10-15 minutes before it opens at 9am. You'll be able to enjoy the Hagia Sophia peacefully which is really worth it. Otherwise be prepared for a huge queue and large noisy groups inside.

Unfortunately during my visit half the interior was obscured with scaffolding from restoration work being done. So be aware of this.

The Hagia Sophia is absolutely breathtaking and a must for anyone interested in history.
As you enter there are displays detailing the history of the church/mosque. The rest of the building is sparse with information as the attraction is the architecture itself. However there are a few signs scattered throughout which point to notable objects.
The outside courtyard also contains the ruins of the previous church built by Emperor Theodosius.

Lastly I'd like to mention the cats! Istanbul is full of stray cats and it was amazing to see them wandering around the Hagia Sophia too. They were the most popular thing inside with tourists!

1  Thank ivanboulevard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

I bought the Museum Pass in particular because it included Fast track entry to this.
Got there at 9.20. Asked the guards for the fast track entrance and they pointed to the long line and said everyone already has tickets. Ended up waiting 50minutes to get in because so many people (including entire tour groups) were jumping the line and the security did nothing to stop them!
Once you get inside the premises on the line with people with tickets and passes, they put half the people who just bought tickets into the same security check as you! So the other half of the people who just bought the tickets actually got in faster tha the rest of us!
Once you get in, the place is quite beautiful. Although crowded, it does have a special vibe to it. Also, there is a video playing at the entrance of the building which gives a long explanation. Audio guide was 30TL but I didn’t get one.
Was it worth the wait? Not for me. Maybe if I had jumped the queues too, I would have been in a better frame of mind. Part of the dome was also under renovation, blocking part of the view.

1  Thank SidTravel8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

We went there with local guide so we were able to skip the long queuing. There were many renovation still on going last month, so some space was closed. This place is quite huge, and don't forget to go to second floor.
Since it's always crowded esp on weekend it's really hard to get a good photo.
But we were not for pics tho, so it didn't bother me at all. Enjoy your visit!

Thank uun_uun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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