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Sultan Ahmed Mosque

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque, popularly known as the Blue Mosque, is a historic Ottoman mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. It was built in 1616, during the rule of Sultan Ahmed I of the Ottoman Empire. The Mosque is called the Blue Mosque due to the blue tiles extensively used in its decoration.

History

Sultan Ahmed Mosque was built by the Ottoman emperor Sultan Ahmed I after the Peace of Zsitvatorok and an unsuccessful campaign against Persia. The mosque was built at a site where old palaces used to stand, facing Hagia Sophia and Hippodrome. Sedefhar Mehmet Aaya, the royal architect, was appointed the in-charge of the construction. The construction was completed in 1616 AD, perhaps the end of the reign of the Sultan.

Architecture

The external façade of the mosque was built in the same manner as the Süleymaniye Mosque. The court is a huge space surrounded by a vaulted arcade, and with a small hexagonal fountain at the centre. “The semi-dome has a stalactite structure, crowned by a small ribbed dome on a tall tholobate.”

The interiors of the mosque are lined up with thousands of tiles. While the tiles at the lower levels are traditional in design, at the gallery level they become more flamboyant, representing flowers, fruit and cypresses. On the upper levels, there are windows decorated with coloured glass with intricate designs, which allow natural light to come in colourful patterns. The decorations include verses from the Holy Quran, made by some of the best calligraphers of that time. The arches and the dome are beautifully decorated with marble carvings and the walls are all covered with colourful tiles.

  • Entrance to the mosque is free.
  • While entering the mosque, you need to cover your legs. No shorts/skirts or sleeveless clothes are allowed.
  • Women need to cover their head. Scarves are available in the outside shops for 10-15 TL or can be borrowed inside the mosque for free.

Photo Courtesy: Lonely PlanetBeinglol.com

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