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Exploring the blend of Islamic and Byzantine influences in Blue Mosque's architecture

Blue Mosque | A symbol of harmony in Istanbul’s cultural tapestry 

The Blue Mosque, or Sultan Ahmed Mosque, in Istanbul, is renowned for its stunning blue tiles and six minarets. Commissioned by Sultan Ahmed I in 1609, it stands as a testament to Ottoman craftsmanship. The mosque showcases a blend of architectural elements and intricate design, that is sure to captivate visitors. 

Blue Mosque architectural style and design

Blue Mosque architectural style and design

Who designed the Blue Mosque?

Mehmet Aga, a renowned Ottoman architect, designed the Blue Mosque, showcasing his mastery of light, space, and intricate designs. Completed in 1616, it continues to stand today as a cultural gem and a testament to the splendid craftsmanship of Ottoman workers. 

Blue Mosque construction process

Structure of the Blue Mosque

Stages of construction of the Blue Mosque

  • 1609: Construction of the Blue Mosque began in 1609 under Sultan Ahmed I on a former hippodrome site that symbolized Ottoman power. The first step was to lay the foundations, a crucial task that involved excavating the site and laying massive blocks of stone. This process ensured a stable base for the mosque's towering structure.
  • 1610-1612: With the foundations firmly in place, the construction of the walls and interiors began. A combination of brick and stone with wooden beams was used to provide additional reinforcement. The walls rose steadily, shaping the mosque's grand interior.
  • 1613-1614: The construction of the central dome of the Blue Mosque, a masterpiece of Ottoman engineering, began around this period. A complex system of interlocking wooden ribs was meticulously constructed, forming the dome's skeleton. This intricate structure was then covered with lead, ensuring weatherproofing and durability. Simultaneously, the six minarets, a unique feature among Ottoman mosques, began to take shape. These slender towers, reaching towards the sky, were carefully constructed to equal the number of minarets at the Prophet's Mosque in Mecca.
  • 1615-1616: With the main structure largely complete, the focus shifted to the interior. Over 20,000 exquisite Iznik tiles, hand-painted with intricate floral designs and calligraphy, were carefully installed. These tiles, sourced from the renowned Iznik pottery workshops, created a mesmerizing tapestry of blue, green, and turquoise hues.
  • 1617: In 1617, the Blue Mosque was unveiled to the public, marking a pivotal moment in Ottoman history. The mosque's grandeur and innovative architectural features served as a symbol of the empire's enduring power and cultural vibrancy.

The exterior of the Blue Mosque

The exterior of the Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque interiors

Blue Mosque interiors



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Frequently asked questions about Blue Mosque’s architecture

What is the architectural style of the Blue Mosque?

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul, also named the Sultanahmet Mosque, embodies a fusion of architectural styles, seamlessly blending elements of Byzantine, Seljuk, and Ottoman architecture. Its central dome, soaring minarets, and exquisite Iznik tilework exemplify the pinnacle of Ottoman architectural artistry.

Who designed the Blue Mosque?

The architectural mastermind behind the Blue Mosque was Mehmet Aga, a renowned Ottoman architect revered for his mastery of light, space, and intricate designs. It was his vision and expertise that brought the mosque's architectural details to life.

Why is the Blue Mosque's architecture famous?

The Blue Mosque is famous for its unique features such as the central dome measuring 23.5 meters in diameter and soaring 43 meters high, six minarets, and over 20,000 hand-painted Iznik tiles with floral designs and calligraphy that adorn the interior and exterior.

What was the Blue Mosque inspired by?

Mehmet Aga drew inspiration from the architectural layout of the Hagia Sophia and the Selimiye Mosque's dome and minaret placement to construct the Blue Mosque. 

When was the Blue Mosque built?

The construction of the Blue Mosque commenced in 1609 and was completed in 1617, during the reign of Sultan Ahmed I.

How long did it take to construct the Blue Mosque?

The Blue Mosque's construction spanned seven years, from 1609 to 1616, requiring meticulous planning, skilled craftsmanship, and a vast workforce. Mehmet Aga was one of the lead architects involved in the construction of the Blue Mosque.

What are the main architectural elements of the Blue Mosque?

The Blue Mosque boasts stunning features like its central dome, six minarets, and exquisite Iznik tiles, and showcases a harmonious blend of Byzantine, Seljuk, and Ottoman architecture.

What's inside the Blue Mosque?

The Blue Mosque's interior is adorned with exquisite Iznik tiles, hand-painted with floral designs and calligraphy, creating a mesmerizing tapestry of colors and artistry. The vast interior space, with its design elements and harmonious blend of light and shadow, promotes a sense of serenity and spiritual elevation.

What's on the exterior of the Blue Mosque?

The Blue Mosque's exterior has a spacious courtyard, a monumental portal, six slender minarets, and a distinctive domed roofline. The lower sections of the exterior walls are adorned with exquisite Iznik tiles, adding a touch of vibrant color and artistry to the mosque's exterior.