The Lonely Planet website has chosen Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia in its list of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Hagia Sophia “is the great architectural landmark at the heart of Istanbul, with its four minarets poised like moon-bound rockets,” the website said.
Constructed in the 6th century A.D. as an Orthodox church, Hagia Sophia became a mosque in 1453 after sultan Mehmet II conquered Constantinopel, and since 1935 has been a museum. The base of the building’s dome is ringed by windows, so that from within the structure the dome seems to hover ethereally above the building.
Hagia Sophia Museum remained Turkey’s most visited tourist attraction in 2015, according to data released by the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
In 2015, 3.47 million people visited the Hagia Sophia. It was also the most visited site in Turkey in 2014.