Hagia Sofia

Walking Seminar Hagia Sofia in Istanbul

From £97 per person

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What You'll Do
  • Learn the impressive history of the Hagia Sofia from an expert guide
  • Understand its context with a visit to the Hippodrome, and Roman aqueducts
  • Discover the beauty of this modern day mosque
  • Snap some photos of the incredible mosaics, dating to the 10th century!
Take a deeper look at the Hagia Sofia and its history. Enjoy an expertly guided walking tour through this monument of the Byzantine Empire, from its Roman beginnings to its Ottoman resurrection.
What to Expect
In the distance you hear the call to prayer, the sun glistens off the Bosporus, and in front of you rises the spectacular Hagia Sofia. This epic Byzantine church captures your imagination, and the architectural wonder in front of you makes for a lovely day of exploring and learning.

On today's walking seminar, we will look deep into the church's fascinating history, while taking the time to explore its every crevice. Considered by many to be one of the seven architectural wonders of the world, it has inspired centuries of artists, philosophers and travelers alike.

In order to gain a deeper understanding of the Haiga Sofia and its place in history, we will begin our walk at the Hippodrome, or running track, of Roman Constantinople. It was here in the 4th century that Romans began building the cisterns and sewers that allowed the city to prosper, and Haiga Sofia owes much of its place to these ancient thinkers.

Once we arrive at the church itself, we will be greeted by the impressive architectural wonder in front of us. Built in the 6th century, the "Church of Holy Wisdom" is a beacon of religious life for the Eastern Orthodox faith stemming from emperor Justinian. We will explore its architectural design, its engineering, and innovative dome. Make sure to snap some pictures of the impressive mosaics, some of which date to the 10th century.

Your day will be completed by a look at the Ottoman reconstruction of the church in the 15th and 16th centuries, when it was converted to a mosque without significant renovation. You will notice Orthodox imagery right next to Islamic imagery - a true testament to the multicultural land you are in.
What's Included
  • Knowledgeable Guide
What's Not Included
  • Admission to Hagia Sofia (around 10 Dollars)
  • Gratuity
Meeting Point

Meet at a cafe called "Med Cezir," which is located directly across the street from the Four Seasons Hotel in Sultanahmet (the historic center). The exact address is Tevkifhane Sok. No 6. The cafe, which is also a hotel, has a large sign advertising 'best kebabs'. Most cab drivers will know the Four Seasons Sultanahmet, and if you show them this confirmation with the map will take you there directly without a problem. Meet on the sidewalk outside of the cafe.

What to Remember
Be prepaid for the walk.

You will need to purchase tickets for yourself at the church of Hagia Sofia. These usually cost 20 lira per person.

Children under 12 are not allowed on group walks.

Context walks can be cancelled up to 48 hours prior to the walk with an 85% refund. Within 48 hours all reservations are final and cannot be refunded. Walks are held rain or shine with some variations to accommodate the weather. If you are running late for your meeting with the docent, please call the local provider, who will then relay the message to the docent. No-shows are treated as last-minute cancellations and are non-refundable. Cancellations within 2 business days need to be made directly with the local provider's offices by calling them directly or at the emergency number provided. Cancellations made via email or by calling the local provider's U.S. 800 number may not be honored.

From £97 per person

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Product ID: 14634