Blue Mosque, or Sultanahmet Mosque in Turkish, is one of the oldest mosques in Turkey. It was built between 1609 and 1617. The ruler of the Ottoman Empire at the time was Sultan Ahmet I. He wanted a mosque matching Hagia Sophia in beauty and design, so he ordered the construction of the famous Blue Mosque.
The architect of Blue Mosque is the famous architect Sedefkar Mehmet Aga. The architectural design of the Blue Mosque is one of the most excellent examples of the mixture of Ottoman and Byzantine Architecture. There are parts of its design where you can see the influence of the architectural qualities of the adjacent structure Hagia Sophia. Still, the dominant effect we see is from its Islamic architecture and design. With Blue Mosque, Sedefkar Mehmet Aga is considered to have built the last amazing mosque of Classical Ottoman architecture.
Some of the exterior designs of the Blue Mosque show similarity to the Süleymaniye Mosque that was built by the famous architect Mimar Sinan. But Blue Mosque is the first mosque built in Turkey with six minarets. Back in the day, when people found out that Blue Mosque had six minarets, the sultan was blamed for being insolent. The reason was that Masjid al-Haram in Mecca had six minarets, and it was seen as disrespectful to have the same number of minaret as the most important mosque of Islam. Ahmed I found a solution to this by adding a seventh minaret to Masjid al-Haram.
When we look at the interior design of the Blue Mosque, we see the many beautiful artistic aspects that make Blue Mosque unique and special. One of these aspects is handmade tiles. Blue mosque has 20,000 handmade tiles that were made by some of the most famous tile artists of the time. The tiles were not cheap, and the sultan tried to regulate the pricing. Still, the prices went up as the construction continued. This resulted in a decrease in the quality of the tiles. For example, lower tiers have traditional tiles that have brighter colors and better craft, but higher tier tiles are not of the same quality.
These higher-level tiles are more colorful, and the most dominant color of these tiles is blue. This is the reason the Sultanahmet Mosque is called the Blue Mosque in English, from the effect of these blue colored tiles.
A very important part of the interior design is the mihrab, the part of the mosque that indicates the direction of Mecca. Blue Mosque’s mihrab is made from marble, and the carvings on it are incredibly beautiful.
Today, Blue Mosque is a significant mosque that citizens of Istanbul go-to for praying. It’s not a museum but a religious place. Because of that, even though millions of people visit Blue Mosque each year, there is no entrance fee. Despite this, donations are welcome and encouraged. The main thing to be careful about is to dress modestly. Men should prefer long pants while women should prefer long pants or skirts.
The Blue Mosque is in Sultan Ahmet, İstanbul.
It was built between 1609 and 1616.
It was built during the rule of Sultan Ahmet I.
Blue Mosque’s elaborate and beautiful design and colorful tiles makes it one of the most popular and important mosques in Turkey.
Blue Mosque’s interior is covered with handmade tiles and the dominant color of the upper tier tiles is blue. That’s where the name Blue Mosque comes from.
It’s a 1 hour 50 minute bus ride from the airport and 50 minutes with a taxi or a private car.