The Hagia Sophia served as a religious center for hundreds of years. It was not until 1934 when the Republic of Turkey decided to turn the structure into a museum. Led largely by a decision made by the president of Turkey at the time, Mustafa Ataturk, the museum opened its doors to the general public in the year 1935.
The opening of the museum in 1935 saw some changes made to the structure. One of the most significant changes to the museum was the removal of the carpets. These were replaced by millions of magnificent marble tiles as seen in some ancient mosques. In addition, visitors could now see the many pieces of original art that had been uncovered and restored. The museum now offers one of the most extensive collections of ancient mosaics in the world.
The Hagia Sophia Museum remains one of the most visited historical museums in the world. Visitors can expect to spend at least two hours observing, listening to or participating in museum tours. There is a fee to enter the museum which varies by season. Children and seniors over the age of 65 are able to enter the museum for free.
For individuals that wish to learn more of the historical background of the Hagia Sophia, experienced professors are available to give in depth lectures regarding the history of the museum and its mosaics. In addition, school aged children can participate in hands on activities that help explain the significance of the structure in a fun and interesting way.
The Hagia Sophia Museum is one of the most astounding historical buildings still standing today. It is a beautiful example of ancient architectural design. It remains one of the top religious attractions drawing in visitors from around the globe.