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Tips to save you time
The best time to go to Hagia Sophia is in the evening, before closing time. During high season (autumn, spring, with a considerable peak in May) come about 1,5 hours before closing time. During low season (November-March, June-July) there is hardly any queue 2-3 hours before closing time. If you think you may need more time for the visit - come to the museum at the opening (or about 15 minutes before in high season).
Best days of the week for Hagia Sophia’s visit are Wednesday and Thursday.
Try to avoid Friday morning: as the Blue Mosque is closed until 2:30 p.m. on this day, Hagia Sophia sees bigger crowds than the other days of the week.
The busiest months for the visit are April-May and September-October. Plan your visit for another period if possible.
Winter (December-February) is the best time to visit: you’ll hardly need to queue even at peak times.
If you see a waiting line inside Hagia Sophia - it’s the queue for the Wishing column. People make their wishes by rotating their thumb in a complete clockwise circle inside the hole, in the column, at the northwest of the building.
Check the opening hours before going: during “summer hours” the museum closes at 7 p.m., the rest of the year it is open until 5 p.m. The last entry is one hour before the museum’s closing.
Tips for a few days in Istanbul
This page will give you many tips to avoid crowds in Istanbul as well as crowd schedules for top tourist attractions in order to plan your visits.