A second look at Blue mosque was a great opportunity to observe some missed aspects in the first visit.
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.
No visit to Istanbul can be complete without a visit to the Blue Mosque or Sultanahmet Camii as its Turkish name is.
It's a bit hassle at the entrance where you have to put your shoes in a plastic bag, but thereafter you just enjoy the beauty of the building. Please be aware that shorts are not permitted.
Entrance is free.
It was constructed between 1609 and 1616.
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.
Sultan Ahmed Mosque is hardly surprisingly located in the Sultanahmed area of Istanbul. This mosque is also known as the blue mosque because its walls are covered with more than 20,000 beautiful blue iznik tiles.
This mosque was built between 1609 and 1616, during the reign of Sultan Ahmed I. It was built on the site of the former palace of the Byzantine emperors next to the hippodrome and facing Hagia Sophia.
Sultan Ahmed Mosque has one main dome, six minarets, and eight secondary domes. It was designed by the architect, Sedefkâr Mehmed Ağa, who was a pupil of Mimar Sinan. Sultan Ahmet was criticised for adding six minarets to his mosque. At that time only the mosque of the Ka'aba in Mecca had six minarets. The sultan went ahead with his plans but paid for a seventh minaret to be added to the mosque of the Ka'aba in Mecca..
As I said above the walls of the mosque are covered with beautiful blue tiles, the floors are covered with beautiful Turkish carpets. Several ornate chandeliers hang from the ceiling. Female visitors to the mosque must cover their heads. Scarves can be borrowed for this purpose. All visitors must remove their shoes. The mosque is closed to non-Muslims during prayer times.
Inside was spectacular. We had to wait in a long queue, but worth it.
The downside is that women must wear headscarves and all visitors must remove their shoes. Spread some bags to store shoes and a veil (not recommended) for those who have not had the foresight to take your own.
In some hinterland could smell the feet.
A part of the mosque is closed to tourists and may be some Muslims pray a little embarrassed by the crowd of visitors.
El inconveniente es que las mujeres deben llevar velo islámico y todos los visitantes deben descalzarse. Reparten unas bolsas para guardar los zapatos y unos velos (no recomendables) para quienes no hayan tenido la previsión de llevarse uno propio.
En alguna zona del interior se podía percibir el olor a pies.Una parte de la mezquita está cerrada a los turistas y puede verse a algunos musulmanes orar un poco cohibidos por la marea de visitantes.
One of the most popular tourists sights and when visiting Istanbul a "must see".
Give yourself time, minimum one hour, most people stay much longer. Expect to wait for entry, I recommend you visit early in the day.
The attached web link contains photos, from this assess how long you will need for your visit.
What can be said about the Blue Mosque that hasn't already been said? For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to see it. It is as synonymous to Istanbul as the Grand Bazaar. It is what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, the Statue of Liberty is to New York, the Taj Mahal is to India. It is one of the most famous and most recognizable buildings in the world. In the end I found it to be extraordinary but it wasn't, as I expected, my favorite site in Istanbul. I would have to say though, that it is the #1 must see in Istanbul.
The Blue Mosque is really called Sultanahmet Camii. Architect Mehmet Aga created this Ottoman masterpiece for Sultan Ahmet I in 8 short years beginning in 1609. My favorite features - the cascading domes and six minarets - make this a stunning building from the outside. It was the six minarets though that provoked hostility because it was considered a sacrilegous attempt to rival the Elharam Mosque in Mecca. In the end, Sultan Ahmet I had to send Aga to Mecca to build a seventh minaret for the Elharam Mosque to reestablish its prominence in the Islamic world.
Much larger than I expected, the Sultanahmet Camii is 213 feet by 239 feet. It is so huge that it can be seen from many spots around the city - and it is from a distance that you can fully appreciate its beauty (and its size!).
We walked through the courtyard to the entrance. We removed our shoes, I covered my head, and we stepped inside. My eyes adjusted to the light and I looked around in awe. There was so much to see, so many fantastic details. The carpeted floor seemed to go on forever. The area for worshipper's was roped off and non-Muslim men and all women were not permitted past the rope. There was a separate section in the back for women worshippers.
The mosque is nicknamed the Blue Mosque because of the 20,000 blue-green hand painted Iznik tiles inside. (Iznik pottery is made from hard, white "fritware" which is similar to procelain.) The tiles themselves have over 50 different designs (including floral designs - tulips) and are very beautiful. Although it was not brightly lit inside, light comes from the 260 stained-glass windows and the 141 feet high center dome. (The celing of the dome is painted with very pretty Arabic patterns.) There is also a huge (very low) chandelier (as well as other chandeliers) that had small strings of lights but must have once held candles.
Other special highlights inside:
The Mihrab - an ornate niche in the wall that marks the direction of Mecca.
The Mimbar - a lofty pulpit from where the imam (head of the mosque) delivers his Friday khutba (sermon).
The Loge - provided the sultan with a screened-off balcony where he could pray.
We spent a good amount of time inside - there was so much to see - before making our way back to the large courtyard which interestingly covers the same amount of space as the prayer hall to balance the whole building. In the middle of the courtyard is the ablutions fountain where worshippers would wash their head, hands, and feet before entering the mosque. This fountain is no longer in use and the ablutions ritual is performed at a line of taps next to the entrance to the courtyard.
Please be quiet and respectful of worshippers (no photos!). No flash photography is permitted. Women must cover their heads, proper dress for all. Allow at least an hour to visit.
The mosque is opposite Hagia Sophia and within walking distance of Topkapi Palace and Basilica Cistern. Within the mosque are the Carpet and Kilim Museums. Entrance to the museums is $2.
No charge for entrance into the mosque, although donations are accepted.
The mosque is open 8:30 a.m. to noon, and 1:45 - 4:30 p.m. Access is restricted during prayer times, particularly mid-day Fridays.
This Mosque is a true work of art. With all the blue tiles, the view is intriguing and very interesting. It is a big Mosque, and is a great place to start touring Istanbul to give you some perspective as you go from Mosque to Mosque. The grounds are well kept and it's a nice walk to Topkapi Palace. You can tour this yourself but, the best way is to take the Viator City Tour. It is way better because you can skip the lines and you get a tour guide that can answer your questions-all for about the same amount of money. It is actually a good deal.
Sultanahmet Camii is generally known as the Blue Mosque because of the colour of tiles covering the walls of its interior. Its official name Sultanahmet refers to the name of its founder Ahmed I. He became a sultan at an early age of 14, and when he was 19 he decided to build a mosque that would surpass Ayasofya in its glory. Started in 1610, the mosque was completed after the death of Ahmed I in 1617. Its architect, Mehmed Aga, was an apprentice of the famous Sinan. The mosque is regarded as tha last example of Ottoman classical architecture.
A distinguishing feature of Sultanahmet Camii are its six minarets. According to the legend, Ahmed I told his architect to build gold (altin) minarets. However, Mehemd Aga misunderstood his master and built six (alti) minarets instead. It seemed a kind of blasphemy, as only the mosque in Mecca had six minarets. Ahmed found a clever solution. He sent his architect to Mecca and told him to build an extra minaret in the mosque there.
From the outside the Blue mosque is a triumph of harmony, proportion and elegance, with its cascade of domes and semidomes. Inside, this elegance seems a little destroyed by massive "elephant feet" ( pillars) supporting the domes. Yet, the interior is really impressive. About 20 thousand tiles, made in Iznik, cover the walls. The ones at gallery level are said to be especially beautiful, decorated with flower ( mostly tulip) and fruit design. It's a pity visitors are not allowed upstairs, so we must be content with what we can see from a part for tourists. The interior is lit by lamps placed in a huge chandalier hanging low over the floor and by natural light which comes inside through 260 stained glass windows. The important parts of any mosque are a mihrab (a niche in a mosque wall indicating the direction of Kaaba in Mecca) and a mihber ( a pulpit from which the Imam delivers Friday sermons). Here they are made of beautifully carved marble.
We must remember that Sultanahmet Camii is a functioning mosque. So it's obvious that you can't visit it during the prayer hours. Besides, we must behave respectfully. Everyone has to take off their shoes (plastic bags are provided) and women must cover their heads. If you don't have your own scarf, they are available to borrow before you enter the mosque.
Entrance is free of charge but donations are appreciated.
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque is one of the main Mosques in Istanbul.
It as been built a few meters away from Hagia Sophia which, before this new Mosque, was the most important of the city.
It is also known as Blue Mosque cause of the blue tiles which adorn the interior walls.
It was built betwen 1609 and 1616.
It's free to visit, it just closes 90 minutes at any pray time. You just have to take your shoes off and carry them into a bag, if you don't have one, you can get it at the entrance.
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.