Hagia Sophia  » Travel  »
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Fatih Mh., 61040 Trabzon/Trabzon Province, Turkey
  • I mean, the antiquity and architecture of the mosque itself are amazing, but I did not expect the inside to be particularly intricate
  • The outside had some ancient ruins crumbling around it, and the building itself definitely looks a bit old and warn
  • The arches and pure architecture was very intriguing, but I was not particularly impressed
  • I also enjoyed the fact that they allow you to climb up into the balconies via a side stairwell (so many stairs)
  • I must have dropped mine on the stones at least three times, and I thought I broke it at one point and was forced to pretend I could hear my guide for about fifteen minutes before I got it working again


    • by Alanna Rosewood
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      Looking at the Hagia Sophia from the outside I really didn’t think it was going to be anything spectacular to see on the inside. I mean, the antiquity and architecture of the mosque itself are amazing, but I did not expect the inside to be particularly intricate. The outside had some ancient ruins crumbling around it, and the building itself definitely looks a bit old and warn. When I walked into their entrance hall my expectations were reaffirmed. We were in a plain hall made of white-colored brick or stone. The arches and pure architecture was very intriguing, but I was not particularly impressed.

      Well, wouldn’t you guess how surprised I was when I walked into the main chamber of the Hagia Sophia. It was like night and day. The inside of the mosque at this point was absolutely stunning - I could not believe the difference. There were frescos, Turkish designs in tiles, and prayers in Arabic script all over the walls and domed ceilings, much of which was all painted in a well-preserved gold paint. The artwork has been amazingly well-preserved over such a long time. Even much of the original artwork from when


      the Hagia Sophia was a church survived, though I was sad to see that the faces had mostly been plastered over (it is forbidden to depict figures in mosques, so when it was converted to a mosque they replicated them in their records and then plastered over them because they did not want to destroy them). Some of these have been uncovered in more recent years however, and can be seen at various points in the mosque. My favorite one is that of Mary holding baby Jesus with Justinian handing him the church (now mosque) and Constantine handing him the city of Constantinople (now Istanbul). That one was actually a nice little surprise at the end of the tour. We were walking out and looked up and saw its reflection in a mirror strategically placed at the exit to direct your attention to the most amazing fresco before you left. It gave me a good laugh. I also enjoyed the fact that they allow you to climb up into the balconies via a side stairwell (so many stairs). The view from there of the whole building is amazing, and if you’re tall enough to ...

      • see out the windows you also have a great view of the Blue Mosque across the street. I found it funny that there were two mosques right next to each other, but then I remembered that the Hagia Sophia is no longer an active mosque, unlike the Blue Mosque, which is why we were able to come to the Hagia Sophia without worrying about the time.

        The only problems I had with this tour has nothing to do with the Hagia Sophia itself. The Hagia Sophia has technically been converted into a museum, so you go through really crowded gates with lots of loud people to get in. Then, if your party is larger than fifteen (which mine was) then everyone has to get earphones and basically use a walky-talky system to listen to your guide, which was a huge pain. I must have dropped mine on the stones at least three times, and I thought I broke it at one point and was forced to pretend I could hear my guide for about fifteen minutes before I got it working again. They also have horrible bathrooms - none of them had paper and at

        least half of them weren’t working properly anyway. This seems standard for Turkey to have bad bathrooms, though - be happy if you find a bathroom with squatters because those tend to be the cleanest. But the people were all very friendly and spoke surprisingly fluent English. They were actually having fun teaching me and some of my friends various Turkish phrases, like the seemingly endless number of ways to say thank you. There are also various vendors all over the place trying to sell trinkets and souvenirs.

        Other than that, Hagia Sophia was probably one of the most amazing sites I have ever seen - it was even more impressive than the Blue Mosque, which was beautiful in its own right. What’s even more amazing is that it was an awesome enough tour that I enjoyed it even though I was really sick at the time. But tours stop for no one, so I was forced to trudge along after everyone, but I still thought it was amazing, so that’s saying a lot for the Hagia Sophia. If you’re planning a trip to Turkey, I would definitely try to work some time in to see the Hagia Sophia.




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    The review was published as it's written by reviewer in June, 2011. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 3824061500610430/k2311a0624/6.24.11
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