Aya Sofya, Istanbul

Aya Sofya, Istanbul

This beautiful museum in Istanbul was once a Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal cathedral and an Ottoman imperial mosque before it became a home for the artifacts and remnants of the rich history and culture of this Turkish city. Its massive dome is its most notable feature, and it collapsed twice before it stood tall and proud in all its glory.

Aya Sofya is a magnificent creation from the outside but wait until you get inside. Marble doors, columns made of Thessalian stone, intricate mosaics, abstract design on marble slabs, figurative decorations, and so much more. Suffice it to say that it is a stunning creation inside and out.

Make sure to touch the wishing column that is believed to have supernatural powers. If this is true, you might want to simply gaze from afar the crying column and the sweating column.

This attraction in Istanbul draws more than 3 million visitors annually, so you might want to plan your visit accordingly. If you want to skip the line to buy tickets, take advantage of the guided tour that La Vacanza offers. Better yet, sign up for 1, 2, or 3-day private city tour and explore more than just Aya Sofya.

For 1 day, you can also visit Basilica Cistern, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Grand Bazaar, and Topkapi Palace.

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