Hagia Sophia church was built during the reign of Emperor Theodosius and
burned down in the fire of Nika Revolt in 532 A.D. during the reign of
Justinian. The same year Justinian ordered to build a new basilica, the one we
can see today, and only five years later, 537 AD, it was opened to the public.
The architects of this new basilica were Isidorus from Miletus (Söke) and
Anthemious from Tralles (Aydın). The basilica was covered with the magnificient
dome 55.60 m high and 30.80 - 31.88 m in diameter, with 40 frame timbers and 107
In 1453, with the conquest of Istanbul, Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror converted
the church into a mosque. To strengthen the building architect Sinan did
significant work in Hagia Sophia in the Turkish period. During the reign of
Sultan Abdulmecid (1839 – 1861) de Fossati brothers made various restorations in
the building. Hagia Sophia Museum, the legacy of both Christian and Muslim
culture, was opened for visits according to the order of Ataturk and decision of
the Turkish Assembly of Ministers on the 1st of February, 1935.
The Hagia Sophia Museum was included in the list of UNESCO List of World
The activities of the Museum are supervised and supported by the Ministry of
Culture of the Republic of Turkey.
Hagia Sophia Museum
Phone: +90 212 5221750
+90 212 5220989
Fax: +90 212 5125474
Please, contact us for any questions/information concerning the Museum:
- Please, note, that a special permission should be obtained from the General
Directorate of Museums and Monuments of Turkey, if you are a professional
photographer and would like to take photographs in Hagia Sophia Museum (using
tripod or other professional equipment).
The fax number for sending a formal letter – permission request, is:
+90 312 3111417
(Anitlar ve Muzeler Genel Mudurlugu)
!P.S. Getting the permission may take several weeks – do it early!
- A special permission to visit the former Byzantine churches in İstanbul,
not open to general public (such as: St.Irini, St.Mary Pammakaristos (Fethiye
Mosque), St. John the Baptist of the Studion (Imrahor Mosque) etc.) may be
obtained from Hagia Sophia Museum. You should come to Hagia Sophia Museum in
person and present an official request letter for the visit (preferebly signed
by the official of the University or Museum, in case you represent any) or
contact us in advance via e-mail.
İstanbul - Hagia Sophia Museum