The historic Istanbul cathedral and museum, Hagia Sophia ('Ayasofya' in Turkish), was recently announced tenth in Lonely Planet's must-visit list by Lonely Planet.
Being the largest travel guide book publisher in the world, Lonely Planet announced the "World's top 500 sights" as part of its annual Ultimate Travelist list. According to the list, Hagia Sophia took the tenth spot with its religious significance and architectural beauty.
Having a good number of offices around the world, Lonely Planet's travel experts and authors have ranked the 500 best places to see in the world.
The top 10 of the Lonely Planet travel list is:
1. Temples of Angkor, Cambodia
2. Great Barrier Reef, Australia
3. Machu Picchu, Peru
4. Great Wall of China, China
5. Taj Mahal, India
7. Colosseum, Italy
8. Iguazu Falls, Brazil-Argentina
9. Alhambra, Spain
10. Aya Sofya, Turkey
Hagia Sophia, which is visited by numerous tourists every year, served as a cathedral for almost thousand years since 1453, when it was converted into a mosque by the Ottomans with the conquest of Istanbul.
The Hagia Sophia remained a mosque until 1931 when it was closed to the public for four years. It was reopened in 1935 as a museum by the Republic of Turkey. It has served as inspiration for many other Ottoman mosques, such as the iconic Blue Mosque, Şehzade Mosque, Süleymaniye Mosque, Rüstem Pasha Mosque and Kılıç Ali Paşa Mosque.
The first Quran recitation under Hagia Sophia's roof happened in April, after a total of 85 years.