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Istanbul / Taksim

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Istanbul / Pera

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Istanbul / Sisli

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Istanbul / Suadiye

The Marmara Esma Sultan

Istanbul / Esma Sultan

The Marmara Park Avenue

NY / Park Avenue

Blue Mosque

From The Marmara Sisli
20 Min
1 hr 30 min
Address Binbirdirek, At Meydanı Cd No:10, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul

All Day
(Except Prayer Times)

Exterior view of the Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul, adorned with meticulous tile work, serves as a living testament to the magnificence of the Ottoman Empire. Its awe-inspiring facade, standing strong for over 400 years, encapsulates the captivating and influential history that is deeply ingrained within the foundations of this remarkable mosque. 

The Blue Mosque, built by Ottoman Sultan Ahmed I in the 17th century, boasts six towering minarets and five main domes. Its interior is adorned with stunning hand-painted blue tiles, giving it its nickname. Though formally known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, the mesmerizing effect of the tiles has secured its place as the Blue Mosque over time. The mosque sits adjacent to the Hagia Sophia Mosque, a former cathedral turned mosque from the Byzantine era that is also a well-known tourist attraction in Istanbul. 

With its grand architecture and intricate interiors, a visit to the Blue Mosque is an absolute must. Keep reading to discover its fascinating Ottoman origins and find out how you can experience it for yourself. 

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History of the Blue Mosque 

In approximately 1609, Sultan Ahmed I commissioned the construction of the Blue Mosque to showcase the enduring strength of the Ottoman Empire, which was engaged in a protracted conflict with Persia at the time. Its placement was intended to complement that of the Hagia Sophia, while also possibly surpassing its magnificence. The Sultan financed the mosque from his Treasury, a move that drew criticism from those who felt he should have used his war spoils to fund the project, of which he had none. 

Despite the controversies surrounding its funding and construction, the Blue Mosque was completed after the death of Sultan Ahmed I. However, there was another issue with the mosque's design. The plan to build six minarets, slender towers from which Muslims are called to prayer, was considered by many to be overly ambitious. This was due to the fact that at the time, the only mosque with six minarets was the Great Mosque of Mecca, which is one of the holiest pilgrimage sites for Muslims during the Hajj. 

According to legend, there was a misunderstanding surrounding the construction of the six minarets of the Blue Mosque. The story goes that the architect misheard the Sultan's instructions. In Turkish, "altı minare" means "six minarets" and "altın minareler" means "golden minarets." Some folk tales suggest that Ahmed I intended to ask for golden minarets. 

Inside the Blue Mosque 

With inspiration from the Hagia Sophia and the Ottoman Empire’s classical designs, the Blue Mosque is a magnificent display of grandeur. The interior is adorned with more than 20,000 hand-painted ceramic tiles embellished with floral patterns and 200 stained glass windows. During the evenings, the soft lighting illuminates the mosque with a striking deep blue hue. The domes are inscribed with verses from the Quran, adding to its spiritual ambiance. 

The Blue Mosque boasts a towering dome ceiling, measuring almost 24 meters in height, adorned with chandeliers that currently serve as a deterrent to spiderwebs by holding ostrich eggs. In addition to the five main domes, there are eight secondary ones that converge to form the primary nave. The marble-carved mihrab, indicating the direction of Mecca, is situated within the mosque's main prayer hall. The loggia, a covered gallery reserved for royalty, can be found tucked away in one corner of the mosque's interior. 

In summary, the interior of the Blue Mosque is breathtakingly beautiful, so much so that it appears too vibrant to have originated from the 1600s. 

How to Visit 

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul is usually open to the public from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm, but due to being a functional mosque, it is temporarily closed during prayer times. The closure period extends for approximately an hour before the prayer time begins and for half an hour after it concludes. You can find the official prayer timings here. 

As the Blue Mosque is a functioning mosque, there is no admission fee. However, visitors must comply with the dress code which includes covered hair and legs for women and long pants for men. 

Discover the Free Things to Do in Istanbul for an Unforgettable Experience! If you're in search of exciting adventures and remarkable sights, look no further. Istanbul offers a plethora of captivating activities that will leave you in awe. Explore the vibrant streets, indulge in delicious cuisine, and immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of this enchanting city. Don't miss out on the best things to do in Istanbul!

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