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The Blue Mosque: Facts, History, Architecture
  • 2023
  • 04
  • Jan
The Blue Mosque: Facts, History, Architecture


The Sultan Ahmed Mosque, often known as the Blue Mosque, is a mosque located in Istanbul, Turkey. It was constructed between 1609 and 1616, during the reign of Ahmed I of the Ottoman Empire. The founder of the mosque is buried in it, as is the case with many other mosques. Sedefkar Mehmet Agha, his architect, adorned it in the manner of a jeweler. In addition to the mosque, there is a madrasah and a hospice. It is now one of Istanbul's most popular tourist attractions.


The mosque was erected on the location of the Byzantine emperors' palace, in front of the basilica Hagia Sophia and the hippodrome, a position of considerable symbolic significance since it dominated the city skyline from the south. Parts of the mosque's south shore are built on the ruins and vaults of the former Grand Palace.


It was the centerpiece of Ahmed I's compound (Sultanahmet Külliyesi). It was designed by Mehmed Aga (d. 1622 CE), whose moniker "Sedefkar" relates to his mastery of mother-of-pearl. Mehmed Aga was a student of Dawud Aga (d. 1598 CE) and Sinan (1450–1588 CE), two architects whose works established the fashion of the time. 




One of the most popular city-break locations worldwide is Istanbul, and there is a very solid reason for this. The historic Byzantine and Constantinople landmarks exist in the Sultan Ahmet region, attracting thousands of visitors each month who want to view the magnificent structures that formerly belonged to two of history's greatest empires. The gorgeous and incredibly beautiful Blue Mosque is one such structure.

It frequently tops any list of things to do in the city because it is one of the best buildings in the world. There are some facts everyone should know about the Blue Mosque.


  • As a result of its placement in the Sultan Ahmet area, which contains all of the structures on the UNESCO World Heritage List, it is also known as the Sultan Ahmet cami (cami is Turkish for mosque).
  • Every day of the year, it is open, however, it is closed for 90 minutes for prayer. Outside of prayer time, Muslims may still enter the mosque, but visitors are advised to be polite and avoid using flash photography.
  • Sedefhar Mehmet Aa, a disciple of Mimar Sinan, the Ottoman sultans' favorite architect, finished the building in 1619.
  • It features 260 windows made of stained glass.
  • Iznik, a region renowned under the Ottoman Empire for its exceptional manufacturing of ceramic tiles, produced the 20,000 blue tiles that cover the interior. These tiles also contributed to the mosque's name.
  • The architecture combines Ottoman and Byzantine elements.
  • The mosque's six minarets, together with one substantial dome and eight more modest ones, are its most recognizable features.
  • Pope Benedict XVI paid a visit to the Blue Mosque in 2006. Pope Francis made a similar trip in 2014.
  • In 2009, US President Barack Obama visited Istanbul and saw the Blue Mosque with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's former prime minister.




The Blue Mosque was constructed between 1609 and 1616 under the reign of Ottoman Sultan Ahmed I, the mosque's namesake.


In the seventeenth century, the mosque was erected in reaction to the Ottoman Empire's defeat in the Ottoman-Safavid War (1603–1618). Sultan Ahmed, I intended the magnificent architectural achievement that solidified Ottoman authority and inventiveness to reenergize the empire. The mosque was given a prominent location in Istanbul's Hippodrome, a public plaza.


Sultan Ahmed used money from the treasury to pay for the elaborate and contentious building, which was generally funded by war reward due to his defeat in the conflict.


The Sultan Ahmed Mosque, built on the site of Byzantine emperors' palaces, swiftly became the main imperial mosque.


Tourism: This mosque, known in Turkish as the Sultan Ahmet Camii, is a functional place of worship. Muslims from all over the world and world leaders frequently visit the mosque. The Blue Mosque is one of Turkey's most popular tourist sites due to its proximity to the Grand Bazaar, one of the world's oldest and biggest covered markets.




The Sultan Ahmed Mosque is the result of two centuries of growth in both Byzantine churches and Ottoman mosques. It combines Byzantine characteristics from the surrounding Hagia Sophia with conventional Islamic design and is regarded as the Ottoman Empire's last significant mosque from the classical period. The architect used his master Sinan's ideals, striving for overpowering immensity, majesty, and magnificence.


Read also Hagia Sophia: Facts, History, Architecture





The Sultan Ahmed Mosque is the first of two mosques in Turkey with six minarets. The Sabanci Mosque in Adana is the second. Since this was the same number of minarets as at the mosque of the Ka'aba in Mecca, the Sultan was condemned for being haughty when the number of minarets was disclosed. He overcomes this issue by ordering the construction of a seventh minaret at the Mecca mosque.


The Blue Mosque is surrounded by four minarets. The two other minarets at the end of the courtyard each have two balconies instead of the three balconies that each of these pencil and fluted-shaped minarets (Called Serefe) possesses. Five times a day, the muezzin, or person who calls for prayer, used to have to ascend a steep spiral staircase.


Today, a public announcement system is employed, and the call may be heard across the old city, repeated by other mosques nearby. As the sun sets and the mosque is brightly lighted by colored flood lights, large groups of both Turks and foreigners congregate in the park opposite the mosque to hear the call to evening prayers.






More than 20,000 individually produced ceramic tiles in more than fifty various tulip designs, created in Iznik city (Nicaea), line the lower floors of the Blue Mosque and each pier. Lower-level tiles are classic in style, but gallery-level tiles are flamboyant in design, featuring flowers, fruit, and cypresses. The Iznik master oversaw the production of around 20,000 tiles.


Blue color dominates the top floors of the Mosque's interior. More than 200 intricately designed stained glass windows let in natural light. Ostrich eggs are seen on the chandeliers, which were designed to repel spiders and hence avoid cobwebs within the mosque. The numerous large windows provide the sensation of space. The floor casements are adorned with opus sectile. There are five windows on each exedra, some of which are blind. The central dome contains 28 windows, with each semi-dome having 14. (four of which are blind). The sultan received the multicolored glass for the windows as a gift from the Signoria of Venice. The majority of these colored windows have been replaced with newer counterparts with little or no artistic worth.


The mihrab, which is composed of intricately carved and incised marble and has a crystalline niche and a double greatest possible extent panel above it, is the most important aspect of the Mosque's interior.


The royal kiosk may be seen in the southwest corner. It is made up of a platform, a loggia, and two tiny retiring areas. It provides entrance to the mosque's southeast upper gallery's royal loge. During the defeat of the insurgent Janissary Corps in 1826, these retiring apartments became the Grand Vizier's headquarters. Ten marble columns support the royal loge (hünkâr mahfil). It has its own mihrab, which was once adorned with a jade rose and gold, as well as one hundred Qurans on inlaid and gilded lecterns.


The many lights within the mosque were formerly encrusted with gold and diamonds. Ostrich eggs and crystal balls may be found among the glass bowls. All of these ornaments have been taken or stolen to be used in museums.


The enormous tablets on the walls are etched with Quranic passages and the names of the caliphs. They were initially created by the renowned Diyarbakr calligrapher Seyyid Kasim Gubari in the 17th century, although restorations have been made several times.




The façade of the large courtyard was created in the same style as the façade of Istanbul's Süleymaniye Mosque, with the addition of castles on the edge domes. The court is roughly the size of a mosque and is enclosed by a continuous arched arcade. In comparison to the size of the courtyard, the centre hexagonal fountain is very modest. The courtyard's large yet narrow entryway distinguishes out architecturally from its arcade. Its semi-dome is topped by a tiny ribbed dome atop a tall lobate with a superb stalactite structure.


On the western coast of the Mosque, a thick iron chain hangs at the top section of the court entrance. The only person who was permitted to ride a horse into the Blue Mosque's court was the sultan. The chain was placed there so that every time the sultan entered the court, he had to drop his head to avoid being struck. It was conducted as a gesture of support to demonstrate the ruler's humility in the presence of the divine.


Popular Tourist Destination


It is one of Istanbul's most well-known and popular tourist attractions. It is regarded as one of the greatest works of Islamic architecture. The mosque is notable for having six minarets, the most of any mosque in Istanbul. The Blue Mosque is still in use as a mosque, but it is also very well-kept, making it one of Istanbul's top tourist attractions. It receives 4 to 5 million visits every year and is widely considered (and rightly so) one of the world's most iconic religious structures. The Hagia Sofia, this mosque is the most attractive portion of the city. There are many other things to visit in Istanbul, but these two structures should be at the top of your travel guide.



Read also 10 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Turkey



Fawad Hassan

As a nature enthusiast and writer, one of my favorite things to do is to share the stories of my most memorable travel experiences at the various locations I visit. I am an extreme thrill seeker who constantly makes it a point to organize my vacations around going on trips. At best, I'm a solitary traveler, but I find that it's more enjoyable when I'm in the company of others. One day I hope to embark on a tour throughout the world!

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