Hagia Sophia Private Guided Tour

Hagia Sophia Tour Guide

Private Guided Tour of Hagia Sophia by Serhat Engül (Licensed Guide)

Hagia Sophia has always been a legendary building. It was built 1500 years ago by Byzantine emperor Justinian. It had been biggest church in the Christendom throughout the medieval ages.

The enthusiasm and curiosity generated by Hagia Sophia went on for centuries. It literally mesmerized the people of Constantinople. So that they celebrated their victories, crowned their emperors in there. On the other hand, they took shelter in Hagia Sophia when an earthquake striked the city or a storm broke out.

The Dome of Hagia Sophia is certainly one of the most impressive architectural innovation in the world. Architects of present day, still admire the Hagia Sophia’s architectural features.

It was built by resourcefull arhcitects of Asia Minor. Anthemius and Isidore managed to build the greatest temple known to human kind in 5 years! The consruction process lasted from 532 to 537 and nearly 10.000 people worked for it.

The Greek originated name “Hagia Sophia” means: Church of the Holy Wisdom. The Hagia Sophia had been a church nearly 900 years, and then a mosque for 500 years and museum for 85 years.

Nowadays, it’s one of the rare buildings that represents two religions. Christian and Muslim artworks are displayed together in Hagia Sophia of today. Hagia Sophia is the most visited historical monument in Turkey with nearly 3 million visitors in a year.

UPDATE! Hagia Sophia will be Converted Back into a Mosque

With the decision taken in July 2020, Hagia Sophia has been turned into a mosque again. I do not have enough information about how the new order will be at the moment. When I find out, I will note here.

Unfortunately, most of the information on this page is currently invalid. I updated the visiting hours section and added information about how you can visit Hagia Sophia when it becomes a mosque.

According to the last statement of the government, there will be no entrance fee. But I don’t know the rest of the details. I’m waiting for it to be finalized.

Guided Tour Options for Hagia Sophia

There are long lines to enter the Hagia Sophia Museum. You can either hire a private tour guide OR purchase skip-the-line tickets to enter the museum quickly.

  1. If you are looking for a cheap skip-the-line ticket (with a guided group tour), you can find fast track tour tickets from here. This tour is ideal if you want to visit the Hagia Sophia with a guide.
  2. If you are looking for a short Byzantine history tour (with a licensed tour guide) please continue browsing this website. I offer a tour of Hippodrome, Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern. Duration of this tour is 2 hours. These monuments are complementary and ideal for learning the history of the Greco-Roman period of Istanbul.

Self Guided Tour of Hagia Sophia

If you want to visit Hagia Sophia on your own, the article Hagia Sophia Facts may be useful. It is an informational article about Hagia Sophia, written by a professional guide.

Private Tour Guide for Hagia Sofia (Ayasofya)

Hagia Sophia Tour Guide
Hagia Sophia Museum

Where is Hagia Sophia located?

Hagia Sophia is located in Sultanahmet neighborhood. Sultanahmet is considered as the heart of Istanbul Old City and houses the most popular places to visit in Istanbul.

When you get to Sultanahmet area by tram, you can find the top tourist sites within walking distance. Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Basilica Cistern located next to each other, only a few minutes walk from each other.

Hagia Sophia stands out with its ancient features as it was built in 6th Century. This beautiful structure is one of the marvels of the ancient world.

In this article you may find the updated entrance fee for Hagia Sophia as well as the opening hours in winter and summer. Additionally you may find the contact information of a tour guide in Istanbul. Serhat Engul is a licensed tour guide who offers Byzantine history tours.

Hagia Sophia Private Tours

Hagia Sophia Private Guided Tour
Hagia Sophia Square

Hagia Sophia Opening Hours

Hagia Sophia, like other mosques in Sultanahmet, will be open to visitors between 09:00 am and 05:00 pm. However, you will need to plan your visit in advance, as it will be closed to foreign visitors during worship hours.

Prayer times are determined by the length of the day. For this reason, the hours of worship will change every day according to the season. If you leave the hotel and go directly to a mosque, it may be closed because you do not know the exact time of the visit. For this reason, I will suggest you a way to calculate the opening-closing hours of Hagia Sophia in advance.

When I Can Visit Hagia Sophia?

If you type “Istanbul Ezan Saatleri” on the Google, you can see current prayer times for Istanbul. When you look at the image below, you will see how the prayer times are displayed on the website. For example “Öğle” means noon.

The Hagia Sophia will close about an hour before the prayer time reported here (around 12:00) . Approximately half an hour after the prayer time will be opened again. (around 13:30). This is the best way to check the latest opening hours of the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque.

This is the link to check current praying hours for Istanbul.

Website of the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs

Byzantine Mosaics on the Upper Gallery

Hagia Sophia Private Guide
Hagia Sophia Mosaics

Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya) Guided Tours

Hagia Sophia Private Tours
Hagia Sophia Interior

Hagia Sophia Ticket Price 2020

Hagia Sophia entrance fee was 100 Turkish Lira before turning back into a mosque. You do not need to buy ticket any more. Therefore Museum Pass is not needed to visit this particular place. However it’s still recommended to purchase an Istanbul Museum Pass to enter Topkapi Palace quickly.

Private Tour Guide for Hagia Sophia

Istanbul is a city steeped in deep and rich history. It was initially founded by the Greeks as Byzantium in 660 BC, later becoming Constantinople under Roman rule in 330 AD, then officially becoming Istanbul many years later. It was ruled by Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans. It goes without saying that Istanbul is one of the most diverse cities in the world.

If you would like to gain a deeper knowledge about Istanbul’s history, Hagia Sophia is the right place to start for it. History of Hagia Sophia is associated with Roman emperors, religious figures and the riots. So that it would be a great experience to listen to its stories.

A knowledgeable tour guide can make the history come alive for you by telling you all the narratives about Hagia Sophia. If you have an interest about Roman, Byzantine or Ottoman history, Hagia Sophia promises an unforgettable experience for you!

13th Century Deesis Mosaic

The Itinerary of My Hagia Sophia Tour

  • Hippodrome of Constantinople

I start with the history of Hippodrome. This is a perfect place to give you an overview about Istanbul’s history. There are the oldest monuments of Istanbul such as Obelisk of Theodosius and Serpent Column. We talk about the chariot races and the rivalry between the Green and Blue teams.

1st Place to See: Hippodrome

Hippodrome of Constantinople
  • Hagia Sophia

I tell you about the two leading figures in the Roman and Byzantine history of the city: Emperor Constantine and Justinian. Then we move forward to Hagia Sophia‘s courtyard. Talk about the 1st and 2nd generation churches which were destroyed in riots. There are quite a few stories to tell about these unique incidents. Then we will discover the mystery of Hagia Sophia together.

2nd Place to See: Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia
  • Basilica Cistern

The history of the Basilica Cistern is complementary to the Hagia Sophia tour. Basilica Cistern, just like the Hagia Sophia was built by the Byzantine emperor Emperor Justinian and is of great importance in the history of the city. The medusa heads in the Basilica Cistern will definitely interest you.

3rd Place to See: Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern

How to Book This Short History Tour?

Duration of this tour is around 2 hours. It would take 30 minutes to visit Hippodrome and 1 hour to visit Hagia Sophia and 30 minutes to visit Basilica Cistern. I offer private guided tours so that there will be only you. Please kindly ask for the price of this private tour by writing me via contact page.

Hagia Sophia Tour Guide

Hagia Sophia Tour Guides
Hagia Sophia Tour Guide

Fast Track Advantage for Hagia Sofia Guided Tours

Only the guided groups have the privilege of fast track during their Hagia Sophia visit. Tour guides are able to purchase your ticket immediately from a ticket office. It enables you to get inside the museum as fast as possible. Therefore I recommend you to hire a Hagia Sophia tour guide in advance.

Get Inside Hagia Sophia Quickly from Fast Track Guided Line

Hagia Sophia Fast Track
Ticket Line for Hagia Sophia – April 2018

Private Guided Tour of Hagia Sophia

By Licensed Tour Guide Serhat Engul

* There is no group tour to join. Private guided tour is offered only.

You may kindly find the Contact Form here

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Private Guide for Hagia Sophia Tour
Private Guided Tour of Hagia Sophia by Serhat Engul

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Private Guided Tour of Hagia Sophia 2020