Everyone who comes to visit Istanbul visits both Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque and so did I.
For some reason I am always getting a late start during my travels but I did get my butt out of bed early to visit Hagia Sophia when it opened.
There were very few people inside. It was quite nice. It would have been perfect if it wasn’t for all the restoration work being done. I have watched some documentaries on the building so the repair work is probably needed for the longevity of the building.
Hagia Sophia (AyaSofya) started as a Greek Orthodox Church when Istanbul was Constantinople.
Over the years it had much damage and many repairs.
When the Ottomans took over Constantinople the Hagia Sophia became a mosque; this is when the minarets and other mosque distinct features were added.
For now the building serves as a museum and that it is good for us so we can see how spectacular it is inside.
After my visit to Hagia Sophia I visited the sultan tombs that were off to the side of the building. I pretty much had them to myself and enjoyed the domes of all the buildings.
Everyone says to visit the Blue Mosque, which is close by. There are limited times to visit since it is an active mosque. I went on a Friday where it is closed for many hours for prayer. However I got luckily and found a window where it was still open for visitors.
Most of the Blue Mosque was obstructed by restoration work. I did get a photo or two of the very fabulous exposed pieces. I suppose I will have to go back to visit when the work is complete.
What I also liked about the Blue Mosque is that they have an instructional board outside that tells you all about Islam. I found it very educational.
Hopefully some day I’ll be back.