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About Blue Mosque | The splendor of Ottoman architecture

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The Blue Mosque, also known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, is one of the most famous historical landmarks in Istanbul. The mosque was originally designed for Sultan Ahmed I and is now home to the Sultan’s tomb, a hospice, as well as a madrasah. Upon entering the Blue Mosque, you will be greeted by a vast prayer hall, adorned with blue Iznik tiles. These intricate tiles feature floral designs and calligraphy and showcase the artistic mastery of the Ottoman era. Its soaring domes and semi-domes are iconic relics from the Ottoman period. The soft lighting filtering through the intricately designed stained glass windows adds to the serene ambiance.

Why Visit Blue Mosque?

Why Visit Blue Mosque?
  • Ottoman Architecture: The Blue Mosque is a masterpiece of Ottoman architecture, with its stunning domes, intricate tilework, and grand design. The blue Iznik tiles, featuring floral designs, are one of its signature details, that have given the mosque its name. If you love art and architecture, the Blue Mosque is a must-visit. 
  • Turkish Heritage: The mosque is a symbol of Turkey's rich cultural heritage and the legacy of the Ottoman Empire. It provides a window into the country's history, traditions, and Islamic artistry. Exploring its walls would allow you to step back in time and immerse yourself in the stories and legends of the past. 
  • Serene Atmosphere: Whether you are a devout Muslim or someone seeking a peaceful and contemplative atmosphere, the Blue Mosque offers a serene environment for prayer, reflection, and connecting with the higher self. To make sure that you get a few uninterrupted hours at the mosque, reach early in the morning. 

Things to See at Blue Mosque

Iznik Tiles at the Blue Mosque

Iznik Tiles

The mosque is famous for its exquisite İznik tiles, featuring intricate floral patterns and calligraphy. Take the time and admire the stunning blue tiles that adorn the walls, pillars, and domes, taking visitors on a trip down the Ottoman reign in Turkey.

Prayer Hall at the Blue Mosque

Prayer Hall

Upon entering the Blue Mosque, you will come across a spacious courtyard. The prayer hall is right after that, at the heart of the mosque, featuring high ceilings and impressive domes. The domes and semi-domes are signature elements of Ottoman architecture. 

Mihrab at the Blue Mosque

Mihrab

The mihrab is a beautifully decorated niche in the wall indicating the direction of Mecca (qibla). Adorned with intricate calligraphy and decorative elements, it is a significant focal point within the mosque. It was used by imams to lead a prayer. 

Minbar at the Blue Mosque

Minbar

The minbar is a pulpit from where the khatib (preacher) delivered his sermons. This intricately carved piece showcases the craftsmanship of the Ottoman period and adds to the architectural splendor of the Blue Mosque. 

Central Dome at the Blue Mosque

Central Dome

 The central dome is a remarkable feature of the Blue Mosque, supported by four large columns, creating a sense of depth and grandeur within the mosque. As you explore it closely, you will see intricate floral designs and calligraphy on its surface.

Stained Glass Windows at the Blue Mosque

Stained Glass Windows

The mosque's interior is adorned with stained glass windows. During golden hours, it filters the sunlight in soft, colorful hues, illuminating the courtyard and interiors. These windows add to the ambiance and enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of the mosque. 

History of Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque, also popularly known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, is a stunning reminder of the prosperous Ottoman era. It had been commissioned by Sultan Ahmed I, who reigned from 1603 to 1617 when the Ottoman reign was at its peak. 

The construction of the Blue Mosque began in 1609 and was completed in 1616. Sultan Ahmed I sought to commission a mosque, whose architectural splendor would rival the nearby Hagia Sophia. It was constructed on the site of the Byzantine Great Palace, which had been destroyed by fire. The Sultan specifically chose this location to demonstrate the Ottoman Empire's power and dominance, as well as to fulfill his vision of creating a magnificent place of worship.

While the Blue Mosque is known for its six minarets, it is believed that it was built out of confusion. Such a display had only been reserved for the Prophet’s mosque in Mecca, hence Sultan Ahmed I received a lot of backlash for thinking too highly of himself. The Sultan had ultimately commissioned a 7th minaret for the Prophet’s Mosque to redeem his reputation.

Who Built Blue Mosque?

The Blue Mosque was designed by the renowned architect Sedefkar Mehmed Agha, who studied under the famous architect Mimar Sinan. The construction of the mosque began in 1609 and was completed in 1616 during the reign of Sultan Ahmed I, who was the ruler of the Ottoman Empire at that time. 

Architecture of Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque showcases a fusion of two architectural styles, blending traditional Ottoman architecture with elements borrowed from the Byzantine era. One of the mosque's distinctive features is its 6 minarets, which make it stand out from other mosques in Istanbul. The courtyard also has arching domes and semi-domes that enhance the splendor of the mosque. 

The interior of the Blue Mosque is adorned with over 20,000 Iznik tiles, which give the mosque its popular name. These blue tiles, along with intricate calligraphy and geometric patterns, create a stunning visual display, adding to the mosque's grandeur and elegance.

Frequently Asked Questions About Blue Mosque

What is the Blue Mosque?

The Blue Mosque, with its 6 minarets and grand Central Dome, is one of the most famous architectural marvels in Istanbul. Its architecture is a fusion of Ottoman and Byzantine styles.

Do I need tickets to visit the Blue Mosque?

No, you do not need entry tickets to enter the Blue Mosque. If you want to book Blue Mosque guided tours, you have to purchase a ticket. 

Can I purchase Blue Mosque tickets online?

No, you do not need to purchase tickets to enter the Blue Mosque. However, if you want to delve deeper into the rich heritage of the mosque, you may opt for Blue Mosque guided tours. It is best to book guided tour tickets online in advance.

Where is Blue Mosque located?

The Blue Mosque is located on Binbirdirek, At Meydani Cd No:10, 34122 in Istanbul, Turkey.

What are the Blue Mosque’s opening hours?

The Blue Mosque is open from 9 AM to 5 PM every day throughout the year. It is closed only during prayer times and noon Friday prayers. 

What is the best time to visit the Blue Mosque?

We recommend you visit the Blue Mosque early in the morning, between 9 AM to 11:30 AM. The atmosphere is relatively calm and there are lesser crowds. You will be able to explore its interiors to the fullest. 

Why is the Blue Mosque important?

Ottoman Emperor Sultan Ahmed I commissioned the construction of the Blue Mosque because he wanted to showcase the architectural splendor of the Ottomans and create a monument that would rival the nearby Hagia Sophia. The mosque’s grand design, intricate details, and unique fusion of Byzantine and Ottoman elements showcase the artistic splendor of the Ottoman Empire. 

How old is the Blue Mosque?

The Blue Mosque had been constructed between 1609 to 1616. It has been standing as a stunning remnant of the Ottoman Empire’s glory for the last 414 years. 

Why is the Blue Mosque famous?

The blue Iznik tiles adorning its interiors have given the mosque its name. The mosque’s 6 minarets also make it stand out from the other monuments in Istanbul. It is said that the minarets were constructed due to a misunderstanding and to curb the backlash he received from the public, the Sultan had to construct another minaret at the Prophet’s mosque.

What can I see inside the Blue Mosque?

When visiting the Blue Mosque, look out for its blue Iznik tiles, grand Central Dome, and 6 minarets. These architectural details are a fusion of Byzantine and Ottoman styles. Make sure to also look at its Mihrab, Minrab, and walk through its spacious courtyard to get a feel of the opulence of the Ottoman era.