Hagia Sophia

About the DIrectorate of HagIa SophIa Museum

It was used as a church for 916 years but, following the conquest of Istanbul by Fatih Sultan Mehmed, the Hagia Sophia was converted into mosque. Afterwards, it was used as a mosque for 482 years. Under the order of Atatürk and the decision of the Council of Ministers, Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum in 1935.

Hagia Sophia is open for visit every day except Mondays.

The winter visiting hours for the Hagia Sophia are from 09.00 to 17.00, with the final entry being at 16.00. During the summer, the visiting hours are between 09.00 and 19.00, with the final entry being at 18.00. Passes are available at the box office in the museum.

Grand Bazaar

Today the Grand Bazaar is a thriving complex, employing 26,000 people visited by between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily, and one of the major landmarks of Istanbul. It must compete with modern shopping malls common in Istanbul, but its beauty and fascination represent a formidable advantage for it. The head of the Grand Bazaar Artisans Association claimed that the complex was in 2011 – the year of its 550th birthday – the most visited monument in the world. A restoration project starting in 2012 should renew its infrastructure, heating and lighting systems. Moreover, the hans inside the Market will be renovated and later additions will be demolished. This project should finally solve the big problems of the market: for example, in the whole Bazaar there is no proper toilet facility. Moreover, the lacks of controls in the past years allowed many dealers to remove columns and skive walls in their shops to gain space: This, together with the substitution of lead (stolen in the last years) with concrete on the market’s roof, has created a great hazard when the earthquake expected in Istanbul in the next years will occur.

The Grand Bazaar is opened each day except Sundays and bank holidays from 9:00 until 19:00.

Modern Art Museum
Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet)

Tourists always wonder how to visit Blue Mosque. There is also many other questions such as if there is any entrance fee, dress code, where to put my shoes etc.Here below is the answers of all these simple questions…

1) Plan your visit to the Sultanahmet area of Istanbul, so that you better arrive mid morning. Pray happens five times a day with the first call to prayer at sunrise and the last one at nightfall.The mosque closes for 90 minutes at each pray time.Avoid visiting a mosque at pray time (Especially Midday praying on Friday) or within a half hour after the ezan is chanted from the Mosque minarets.

2) Before step in to Mosque, take off your shoes and put in plastic bags provided at the entrance (Free of Charge). This is required of all persons as part of Muslim tradition when entering a mosque. There is also no charge to enter the Blue Mosque.

3) If you are women wear a head covering when entering to Blue Mosque.Head coverings are available at the Blue Mosque entrance for free. Place the fabric cover on top of your head with equal portions hanging on both sides. Take one side and wrap it around your neck, tossing it behind your back with covering your shoulders. Don’t cover your face, the covering is meant to hide your hair only.

Topkapi Palace

Museum is open everyday except Tuesdays.

Visit Hours

Winter Season: Between October 26th – April 15th

Museum, Harem and Hagia Irene can be visited between 9:00 AM – 4:45 PM

Attention: Ticket booths close at 4:00 PM

Summer Season: Between April 15th – October 26th

Museum, Harem and Hagia Irene can be visited between 9:00 AM – 6:45 PM

Attention: Ticket booths close at 6:00 PM

Basilica Cistern

Byzantine cistern from the 6th century built by Justinian I and is located to the south-west of Hagia Sophia. The water was brought from Belgrade Forest, 19 kilometers to the north of Istanbul, and it had a capacity to store 100.000 tons of water. It features fine brick vaulting supported by 336 various type of columns brought here from different parts of the Empire. The Basilica Cistern, or Underground (Yerebatan) Cistern as locals call it, now houses a cafeteria and hosts musical and theatrical performances and a Biannual. There are also two Medusa friezes brought from the Temple of Apollo in Didyma (today’s Didim). Its dimensions are 140x70x9 meters.

Open daily between 09:00-18:30

Spice Bazaar

Spice Bazaar has a total of 85 shops selling spices, Turkish delight and other sweets, jewellery, souvenirs, and dried fruits and nuts.

The opening hours are 09:00 am to 19:00 pm during weekdays and Saturday; from 10:00 am to 18:00 pm on Sundays. Spice Bazaar is closed during religious and public holidays.

Bosphorus Tour
Archaeological Museum

You may come to the İstanbul Archaeological Museum from the Gülhane station of the Kabataş-Bağcılar tram (Tramvay) line.

If you are coming from the Anatolian side, you can reach the tram via ferry lines of Kadıköy-Eminönü and Üsküdar-Eminönü.

Additionally, from all around İstanbul, you may reach Eminönü via public (İETT) and privately owned (ÖHO) buses and come to the İstanbul Archaeological Museums via tram.

(Bus lines to Eminönü; 28, 28T, 30D, 325YK1, 399B, 399C, 399D, 46Ç, 92G, 26, 26A, 26B, 70KE, 70FE, 336E, 47, 47E, 33Y, 92C, 97A, 31E, 82, 92, 94, 146B, 33, 33B, 78, 32, 35, 80, 90, 91O, 36KE, 37E, 38E, EM1, EM2, 44B, 99, 54E, 66, 74, 74A, 36CE, 47Ç, 77Ç, 93, 81, 99A)

Since the İstanbul Archaeological Museums is located in the historic peninsula, its parking area for private vehicles is very limited. Thus, we recommend our visitors to use public transportation.

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