We were staying just a short walk away from the Blue Mosque so we stopped by several times either coming or going from the hotel, every time it was closed for prayers but we did finally manage to visit during visitor hours.
Everyone is required to take off their shoes and carry them in a plastic bag which is provided at the entrance. Women and men are required to have their shoulders and knees covered, women are also required to have their head covered. If you are not appropriately dressed, they have coverups for whatever part of your body that is showing that shouldn't be.
The mosque is free to visit but closes several times a day for prayer. The hours are clearly posted outside.
One of the most famous monuments of Turkish and Islamic art, the mosque is visited by all who come to Istanbul and gains their admiration.
This imperial mosque is an example of classical Turkish architecture, and it is the only mosque that was originally built with six minarets.
It is surrounded by other important edifices of Istanbul, built at earlier ages. Istanbul is viewed best from the sea and the mosque is part of this magnificent scenery.
Although it is popularly known as the Blue Mosque, its real name is Sultan Ahmet Mosque. Befitting his original profession, its architect Mehmet Aga decorated the interior fastidiously like a jeweler. Built between 1609-1616, the mosque used to be part of a large complex, including a covered bazaar, Turkish baths, public kitchens, a hospital, schools, a caravanserai, and the mausoleum of Sultan Ahmet. Some of these social and cultural buildings have not survived to our day.
The architect was a student of Sinan, the greatest architect of classical Turkish architecture. He applied a plan used previously by his master, but on a larger scale.
Here on my "Travelogue" you can see more photos of this great architecture ... :
The main entrance to Sultan Ahmet Mosque is on the Hippodrome side. There is an outer courtyard, and the inner courtyard and the edifice itself are elevated.
From the gate opening to the inner courtyard one can view the domes, rising above one another in perfect harmony, over the symbolic ablution fountain in the middle and the surrounding porticoes.
There are three entrances to the mosque interior. The wealthy and colorful vista inside created by the paintings, tiles and stained glass complements the exterior view. The interior has a centralized plan; the main and side domes rise on four large columns that support broad and pointed arches. The walls of the galleries surrounding the three sides of the interior chamber are decorated by over 20,000 exquisite Iznik tiles. The areas above the tiles and the inside of the domes are decorated with paintwork.
The blue of the paintwork, which gives the mosque its name, was not the color of the decorations originally; they were painted blue during later restorations. During the last renovation, completed in 1990, the darker blue color of the interior decorations painted as its original light colors.
The floor is covered by carpets, as in all mosques. Next to the mihrab (niche aligned towards Mecca) opposite the main entrance, there is a marble minber (pulpit) with exquisite marble work. On the other side is the sultan's loge (box) in the form of a balcony. The 260 windows flood with light the interior space, which is covered by a dome 23.5 m in diameter and 43 m high.
The small market building, repaired and reconstructed in recent years, is situated to the east of the mosque, and the single-domed mausoleum of Sultan Ahmet and the medrese (religious school) building are to the north, on the Hagia Sophia side.
In summer months light and sound shows are organized in the park here. Sultan Ahmet Mosque occupies a focal point in city tours, together with the numerous monumental buildings and museums in the vicinity.
The minarets of the mosque are classical examples of Turkish architecture. The balconies are reached by spiral stairs. It is from these balconies that five times a day the believers are called to prayer - in our day using loudspeakers.
The domes and the minarets are covered by lead, and at the top of the minarets there are standards made of gold-plated copper. Master craftsmen repair these coverings very skillfully when needed.
Islam requires all Muslims to pray five times a day. When the believers hear the call to prayer from the minarets, they perform their ablutions (washing) and then pray. The noon prayer on Fridays and the prayers on other important holidays are performed in the mosques collectively, but other prayers can be performed anywhere.
In the communal prayers performed in the mosque, the imam takes the lead and he chants verses from the Koran. The areas of prayer for men and women are separate. In the central area only men are allowed to pray, while women take their places either behind them or in the galleries.
It is a characteristic of classical Turkish mosques that even in the most crowded day, the majority of the congregation can easily see the mihrab.
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque was the first mosque I ever visited – and WOW, I was impressed. The interior is very beautiful; huge, more than 250 stained glass windows, and thousands of handmade ceramic tiles... Many of the tiles are blue colour – which has given the Sultan Ahmed Mosque its polular name, the Blue Mosque...
The Mosque was built from 1609 to 1616, during the rule of Ahmed I., with elements of Ottoman and Byzantine architecture. Its six minarets almost caused a scandal when it was built... The holiest mosque in the World, the Haram Mosque in Mecca, also had six minarets, but the problem was solved by adding a seventh minaret to the Haram Mosque.
Notice that the Blue Mosque is an active mosque, and is closed for non-worshippers during daily prayers.
One of the most beautiful mosques, this is another must visit while in Istanbul. Very beautiful indeed. It consists of 21,000 blue ceramic tiles. This is a working/practicing mosque and is closed to tourists during prayer times and on Fridays.
Bring a bag/cover to hold your footwear since you need to remove them while entering the mosque, they do provide you with plastic bags which you would do well to avoid.
Dress modestly. Long tops, a scarf to cover the head are more appropriate. Avoid short dress, exposure of skin and revealing clothes.
The Park between Sultanahmet and Hagia Sophia is far from some sort of spectacular tourist attraction or historical site. Nevertheless, it is always crowded with people as they make their way from one mosque to the other, and, as such, it has a number of different benches, vendors and other accoutrements intended to entertain and relax during siteseeing.
The interior of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque is what gives it its nickname of the Blue Mosque. Here, the famous tiles of Iznik, which have been decorated in vegetable patterns in blue paint, a traditional product of the potters of Iznik. As the visitor’s view goes higher up towards the ceiling, the tiles and decorations change in colour, with a great use of reds and greens. The mihrab is carved from marble, which adds to the luxurious but tasteful decoration of the inside of the mosque. We also find a number of chandeliers that are adorned with ostrich eggs (supposedly to scare off spiders), as well as stained glass windows. These windows are found in the domes of the structure as well as its walls, and the glass for these was a gift from Venice. Once again, we see the synthesis of European and Islamic design and architectural values and styles, although this time the blend is intentional, rather than necessitated by the building on top of an existing structure.
Sultan Ahmed Mosque may forever be in the shadow of Hagia Sophia, but it is no less impressive. Unlike its neighbor, whose beauty and fame are supposed to have provided the impetus for the construction of this structure, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (also known as the Blue Mosque because of the colour of the tiles inside the main prayer areas) presents a cohesive and harmonious style. It was designed by the Ottoman architect Sedefkâr Mehmed Aga, who was a disciple of the famous Mimar Sinan. He sought to make something monumental but that still incorporated the ideas found in the synthesis of both Islamic and Byzantine architecture found in Hagia Sophia. The mosque was completed in the first two decades of the 17th century under the orders of the Sultan Ahmed I, whose tomb is found on the mosque complex. While there is no massive dome to compete with the one on Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque’s eight separate domes create a far more pleasing and subtle effect, not entirely dissimilar from the cascading effect of the baths at Pamukkale, and overall in synthesis with the harmonious notion of the building’s architecture. The most remarkable aspect of the mosque, however, is its six minarets. The standard for grand or monumental mosques outside of Mecca was always four minarets (most mosques have only one, Hagia Sophia has only had a maximum of four). This caused quite a bit of controversy when the mosque was first built, as it appeared to imply that the Blue Mosque was being elevated to the level of the Grand Mosque around the Kaaba. In the end, however, the erection of a three new minarets by the Ottomans at the Grand Mosque in Mecca in the 1620s put an end to the controversy.
Built in 1609 this harmonious mosque composes with its neighbour Saint Sophie a marvelous complex.
Presenting six thin minarets (usually four) and a delicate construction it's the inside that gives reason the common name of Blue mosque.
Watch your dressing or you will end passing a new model of skirts, as we did.
Blue mosque, as I imagine, is one of main landmarks of huge Istanbul, also its minarets could be visible in panoramas that present Turkey, Istanbul, Sultanahmet historical suburb.
Actually I was amazed by huge size and both elegant mosque. Blue mosque (or Sultan Ahmet mosque) was constructed in 1603 – 1617; it needed to be as a rival for famous Aya Sophia.
Blue mosque was named after its rich decorated interior, where the main color is blue. Also mosque is famous about its 6 minarets, found only in 2 other World places – Mecca and Medina. Sultan, approving such plan, wanted to state that Istanbul is also as important as other Saint places.
The Blue Mosque stands across parks to the south as a counterpoint to the Aya Sofya. Built in 1616 for Sultan Ahmed I, who died but one year later at the young age of 27 – his tomb/türbe is close by. The Blue Mosque is one of the most magnificent buildings in the Islamic world. The six minarets were controversial at the time of construction since that equaled the number surrounding the El Haram Mosque which encloses the Ka’aba in Mecca. The architect of the Blue Mosque, Mehmet Aða, was dispatched to Arabia subsequently so he could add a seventh minaret to El Haram.
Four massive columns support a dome that is almost as big as that of Aya Sofya – 22m/70 feet diameter and 43 m/142 feet high. More than 20,000 turquoise Iznik tiles glow inside the mosque from light filtering through some 260 windows. As are the other former Imperial mosques – with the exception of Ay Sofya – the Blue Mosque is a functioning worship center so tourists can only enter when services are not ongoing.
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Guess thats one of the most touristical things in Istanbul, great architecture and really recommended to see. no costs, you have to turn off shoes (plastic available to put inside), scarf for the ladies and no naked skin. its closed during prayers time, time table outside, small donation is welcome
It was just an average mosque, maybe because of my middle eastern origin, but for me, if it weren't for aya Sofia close to it, I would have been very disappointed for making the effort to go there. I would say it is really good that it's for free.
This is a fully functioning mosque and as such you must dress appropriately - no shorts etc... Non worshippers must use the entrance at the south door (not the main door).
The Blue Mosque was built to rival the beauty of Haghia Sofia... does it??? hm... they are both so beautiful - who can say!
This mosque has 6 minarets (only a sultan was allowed to add more than one minaret - Sultan Ahmet I commissioned this one). There are 260 windows and apparently the bil interior tiles are in the tens of thousands.
The mosque closes during prayer times.
A second look at Blue mosque was a great opportunity to observe some missed aspects.
First of all, that this mosque, built in the 17Th century,was strongly inspired in Hagia Sophia, adding Byzantine elements to Ottoman style.
The second one is that "Blue mosque" is a strange name for a Portuguese - we are used to blue interiors by the use of tiles, and the result of the wonderful tiles inside the mosque is not so blue.
The third and last one is that the beautiful mosque continues beautiful, and visited out of peak season (though always with many people), gives another sensation of calm and peace.