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Istanbul / Taksim

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Istanbul / Sisli

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Istanbul / Suadiye

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Istanbul / Esma Sultan

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NY / Park Avenue

Blue Mosque

From The Marmara Pera
12 Min
40 min
Address Binbirdirek, At Meydanı Cd No:10, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul

All Day
(Except Prayer Times)

blue mosque

With its intricate tile work, the Blue Mosque in Istanbul stands as a vibrant and enduring tribute to the Ottoman Empire. Embedded within the foundations of the mosque's façade, which has gracefully weathered more than four centuries, lies the compelling and formidable history of this remarkable empire. 

Commissioned by Sultan Ahmed I, an esteemed Ottoman ruler of the 17th century, the Blue Mosque is an imperial masterpiece adorned with five majestic domes and six towering minarets. Its interior is a captivating sight, entirely enveloped in hand-painted blue tiles, which have immortalized the mosque with its renowned name. Officially designated as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii), the allure and allure of the centuries-old blue tiles have firmly established it as the iconic Blue Mosque. Standing in close proximity to the Hagia Sophia Mosque, a Byzantine-era cathedral transformed into a mosque, these two magnificent structures collectively represent Istanbul's most renowned and cherished landmarks. 

With its magnificent architecture and stunning interiors, the Blue Mosque is an absolute must-visit. Delve into the following details to discover its rich Ottoman heritage and find out how you can experience its splendor firsthand. 

Ceiling of the blue mosque

History of the Blue Mosque 

In approximately 1609, Sultan Ahmed I made a momentous decision to build the Blue Mosque, serving as a symbol of the enduring might of the Ottoman Empire, which was entangled in a protracted conflict with Persia at the time. The strategic positioning of the mosque was intended to complement the majestic presence of the Hagia Sophia, while also aspiring to surpass its splendor. Sultan Ahmed I personally financed the construction of the mosque from the Treasury, a choice that generated discontent among those who believed that war spoils should have been employed instead (although the sultan had none to his name). 

Despite Sultan Ahmed I passing away shortly after its completion, the construction of the mosque persisted. However, the financing of the Blue Mosque was not the only source of controversy. Many expressed concerns over the audacity of the design, particularly the inclusion of six minarets – slender towers traditionally used to summon Muslims to prayer. This choice was deemed contentious, as the only other mosque featuring six minarets at that time was the revered Great Mosque of Mecca, a principal destination for the sacred Hajj pilgrimage in Islam. 

According to legend, the inclusion of six minarets in the Blue Mosque was actually a result of a misunderstanding. It is said that the architect misinterpreted Sultan Ahmed I's instructions. In Turkish, "altı minare" means 'six minarets,' while "altın minareler" means 'gold minarets.' Folk tales suggest that the Sultan intended to request gold minarets, but the message got lost in translation.  

Inside the Blue Mosque 

Drawing inspiration from the Hagia Sophia and encompassing the architectural elements of the classical period of the Ottoman Empire, the Blue Mosque stands as a remarkable testament to grandeur. Within its walls, more than 20,000 hand-painted ceramic tiles adorned with intricate floral motifs grace the surroundings, accompanied by approximately 200 stained glass windows. As twilight descends, the soft illumination casts a mesmerizing deep blue hue throughout the mosque. Moreover, the domes are elegantly adorned with verses from the Quran, adding to the spiritual ambiance of this awe-inspiring place. 

The main dome of the Blue Mosque, standing at a height of almost 24 meters, is adorned with chandeliers that currently serve the purpose of deterring spiderwebs by holding ostrich eggs. Apart from the five primary domes, the mosque features eight secondary domes that converge into a central nave. The mihrab of the mosque, a niche in the wall that indicates the direction of Mecca, is carved out of marble. Visitors can also spot the loggia, a covered gallery situated in a corner of the mosque, which was historically reserved for royals. 

The interior of the Blue Mosque is simply breathtaking, so vivid that it's hard to believe it dates back to the 1600s. 

How to Visit 

Typically, the Blue Mosque in Istanbul is open to visitors from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm, but due to its function as a working mosque, it is closed during designated prayer times. These closures begin approximately an hour before prayer time and end half an hour after it concludes. For accurate and up-to-date information on official prayer times, please refer to this link. 

As the Blue Mosque operates as a mosque, there is no admission fee to enter. It is important to abide by the dress code, which requires women to cover their hair and legs, and men to wear long pants. 

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