The cascading domes and six slender minarets from the Sultanahmet Mosque (better known because the “Blue Mosque”) dominate the skyline of Istanbul. In the 17th century, Sultan Ahmet I wished to build an Islamic host to worship that might be even better compared to the Hagia Sophia, additionally, the mosque named for him stands out as the result. The 2 great architectural achievements now stand adjacent to one another in Istanbul’s main square, and it is around visitors to decide which is much more terrific.
The Blue Mosque was commissioned by Sultan Ahmet I when he was just nineteen years of age. It was built at the Hagia Sophia, on the site of your age-old hippodrome and Byzantine imperial manifacture (whose mosaics can be seen in the nearby Mosaic Museum). Construction work began in 1609 and took seven years.
The mosque was designed by architect Mehmet Aga, whose unfortunate predecessor was found wanting and performed. Sultan Ahmet was so anxious for his magnificent creation to be completed that he often help the work. Sadly, he died just a year after the completing his masterpiece, at the ages of 27. He is buried outside of the mosque with his wife and 3 sons.
The initial mosque complex included a madrasa, a hospital, a han, a primary school, a market, an imaret along with the tomb of the founder. Most of these buildings were torn down in the nineteenth century.
What to See
One of the crucial notable popular features of the Blue Mosque is visible from distant: its six minarets. This is extremely unique, since several mosques have four, two, or simply one minaret. İn keeping with one account, the Sultan directed his architect to make gold (altin) minarets, which has been misunderstood as 6 (alti) minarets.
Regardless of the origins from the unique feature, the six minarets caused quite a scandal, as the Haram Mosque in Mecca (the holiest on the globe) also had six minarets. In the end, the sultan reduced the problem by sending his architect to Mecca to incorporate a seventh minaret.
Another striking feature with the exterior may be the beautifully-arranged cascade of domes that seem to spill down in the great central dome. The arcades jogging beneath each dome add more visual rhythm. Not one of the exterior is blue – the name “Blue Mosque” emanates from the blue tiles inside.
The principle west entrance is superbly decorated and very much worth a look. However, to preserve the mosque’s sanctity, non-worshippers have to use the north entrance, off the Hippodrome. Hanging from this gate are symbolic chains that encourage everyone, perhaps the sultan who entered on horseback, to bow his own head upon entering.
Inside, our prime ceiling is lined with the 20,000 blue tiles that give the mosque its popular name. Fine examples of sixteenth-century Iznik design, the oldest tiles feature flowers, trees and abstract patterns. The overall effect is one of the most incredible sights in Istanbul. The Iznik tiles are visible in the galleries and and on the north wall over the main entrance. The rest of the tiles, which have a less delicate design, were made in Kütahya.
The inside is lit with 260 windows, which were once filled with 17th-century stained glass. Sadly, it has been lost and replaced with inferior replicas.
On summer nights at 9pm, there is a historical narrative along with a light show at the Blue Mosque. The commentaries receive in Turkish, English, French and German on various nights.
Istanbul’s imperial Mosque of Sultan Ahmet I (Sultan Ahmet Camii) is known as the Blue Mosque due to the interior tiles, totally on the upper level and difficult to see unless you’re right up there with them.
Your investment blue floor tiles! The mosque (built 1603-17) is the masterwork of Ottoman architect Sedefkâr Mehmet Ağa. It’s built on the site from the Great Palace of Byzantium, about the southeastern side of the Hippodrome.
Using its 6 minarets along with a great cascade of domes, the mosque is a worthy brother or sister to Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia) just a couple minutes’ stroll to the north.
The Blue Mosque has intriguing secrets exposed in my travel precious moment, Bright Sun, Strong Tea, and on the Magic of the Blue Mosque page.
This is among Istanbul’s premier sights, and you’re thanks for visiting visit at most times of day, free of charge (contributions gratefully obtained).
But it is also a working mosque, therefore it is closed to non-worshippers for any 30 minutes or so during the five daily hopes (here are the prayer times), and could be closed for a longer period from midday on Friday, the Muslim almost holy day.
The best way to properly appreciate the splendid architecture of the Blue Mosque is to approach it from the Hippodrome (that’s, in the west) so you can appreciate the special moment from the Blue Mosque.
If you are a non-Muslim visitor, it’s essential to enter through the door on the south side of your mosque (to the right as you enter on the Hippodrome. If you’re entering from the Ayasofya side, the tourist entrance is on the opposite side from the mosque.)