Hillman Wonders Hillman Wonders of the World

Hagia Sophia

Hagia SophiaWhy the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul is special
Modern-day architects marvel at how their 6th century counterparts could design the immense Hagia Sophia and its "impossibly" high-and-wide domed ceiling.

The Hagia Sophia was first a church then a mosque then a museum
Church Mosque
More Hagia Sophia tips and insights
How to pronunce
Hagia Sophia = HEY-yah soh-FEE-ah

Optical illusion
Forty windows ring the base of the 16-story-high dome, making it seem to upward-gazing viewers 16 floors below that the dome is levitating.

Photos could never give us a sense of that illusion or of the hugeness of the Hagia Sophia's internal space. We have to see this 1400-year-old wonder in Istanbul, Turkey firsthand.

Physical condition
Parts of the Hagia Sophia building are currently in regrettable condition due to centuries of neglect. A major effort is afoot to save and restore this masterpiece of the ages.

Blue Mosque
Don't miss the Blue Mosque, a neighbor of the Hagia Sophia. Its exterior architecture is elegantly beautiful. It's a working mosque, but non-Muslims can visit it during non-prayer periods.

Location in Turkey
Hagia Sophia Map
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