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The Blue Mosque

Location of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul

The Blue Mosque is located in the European part of Istanbul , near the coast of the Sea of ​​Marmara in the historical center of the same name –  Sultanahmet . The mosque is located opposite the Hagia Sophia Museum (Hagia Sophia) and is one of the symbols of Istanbul . The Blue Mosque is  also a true masterpiece of Islamic architecture and therefore every day you can see a lot of visitors from different countries of the world.

The Blue Mosque is one of the most famous buildings in Turkey

History of the Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque  was built in 1609-1616 opposite the Hagia Sophia, southeast of the former Hippodrome, by the architect Sedefkar Mehmet Agha. Sedefkar Mehmet Agha, who was a student and chief assistant of the architect Sinan (the architect of the Suleiman the Magnificent Mosque), wanted to surpass his teacher in construction. In order to build a mosque on the Hippodrome Square, not only buildings of the Byzantine period were destroyed, but also many early Ottoman buildings.

The Blue Mosque was  built by order of Sultan Ahmed I, as a result of which Ahmedie or Sultanahmet was named after him . Later, the mosque was called the Blue Mosque by Europeans , because in its decorations were used tiles from Iznik ceramics, painted with blue and white paints, and the interior of the half-domes and the large dome of the mosque was also decorated with blue patterns. Thanks to the combination of these details and the light that comes from the 260 windows, the interior of the mosque really looks blue. The central dome of the mosque has a height of 43 m and a diameter of 23.5 m and is supported by four powerful columns of 5 meters in diameter.

See also  Basilica Cistern

Minarets of the Blue Mosque

An interesting fact is that the Blue Mosque has six minarets: four on the sides, equipped with three balconies (sherefe), and two slightly less high minarets on the outer corners of the courtyard, equipped with two balconies. Usually mosques have 1 to 4 minarets. 

Legend has it that according to the order of the Sultan, the architect was supposed to build a mosque with golden minarets, but he misunderstood the order (in Turkish “altyn” is gold / gold, and “alty” is six). At that time, there was only one mosque in the world: the Al-Haram Mosque (the Forbidden Mosque in Mecca in which the Kaaba is located) had six minarets and when the Blue Mosque in Istanbul was also built six minarets, a loud scandal erupted, because not a single mosque in the world should have been equal to the Kaaba. Sultan Ahmed solved this problem by ordering the construction of a seventh minaret in Mecca (Mosque al-Haram).

Visiting rules and opening hours of the Blue Mosque

The entrance to the Blue Mosque is free, as to every mosque in Turkey , but if you wish, you can leave a donation upon leaving. The time spent in the mosque is limited by the beginning of the next prayer. It is customary to take off your shoes when entering the mosque, so there are special shelves for shoes when entering the inside of the mosque, but it is better to take free disposable bags and carry shoes with you, as most tourists do. Women must wear a headscarf and cover their shoulders and legs. There are also scarves and skirts at the entrance and you can take them for free and leave them at the exit. Blue Mosque – nearby hotels .

The Blue Mosque
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