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Little Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

#10 of 247 in Historic Sites in Istanbul
Religious Site · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
Originally built as an octagonal church topped by a large central dome, Little Hagia Sophia inspired the design of Hagia Sophia. Legend has it that Byzantine Emperor Justinian commissioned the church in 527 to honor the patron saints of soldiers, Saints Sergius and Bacchus, who saved him from a death sentence. Take an all-encompassing view of the interior from the gallery. The white walls, once covered in golden mosaics, are now adorned with Arabic calligraphy. Notice the inscription in Greek around the central nave dedicated to the Emperor Justinian, his wife Theodora, and Saint Sergius. The outside court features a small garden, a fountain, several teahouses, bookshops, and calligraphy boutiques. A small cemetery north of the building houses the grave of Hüseyin Ağa, the 16th-century founder of the mosque. Put Little Hagia Sophia at the forefront of your travel plans using our Istanbul road trip app.
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Little Hagia Sophia reviews

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1,156 reviews
  • We sought out this mosque after reading reviews on it and it was indeed a beautiful find. We had a chance to pray in it and loved the tranquility and peace it emitted. The design and architecture is.....  more »
  • Now it's mosque, but long centuries ago - one of the first Chrisitan church in Byzantium. While being there admit Bapthisterium (8-cornered building nearby) - proof of antiquity of this place.  more »
  • Small mosque that was converted during the ottoman era with exquisite design to adore. It is a away from the main sights but given when we went to the blue mosque it was under restoration this was a treat to view a whole in its full glory without scaffolding.
  • A bright gem in Istanbul. Formerly a church built in the time of the Byzantine emperor Justinian (6th century CE), it became a mosque in the Ottoman period and functions as such today. It is a serene and refreshing place in the midst of the city, so leave time to relax and reflect. Not as busy as other places. This is not a place you will regret seeing!

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