The Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque)
Built at the beginning of the 16th-century, this is the only mosque in Istanbul with six minarets. The building was given its name by the 20.000 blue Iznik tiles used in itsconstruction.
The Ottoman Sultan Imperial Mosque
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Sultan Ahmet I Reign and Achievements
The structure was planned to be built between the Hagia Sophia and the Byzantine Hippodrome near the Ottoman royal residence, Topkapı Palace. However, it's closed to non-Muslims for 90 minutes at each pray time or so during the five daily prayers and two hours during Friday noon prayers. Sultan Ahmet I was enthroned at the age of 13 years old over an empire spanning parts of three continents—Asia, Europe, and Africa from The capital city, Istanbul. He aimed to make a landmark on the city, so he ordered one of the finest mosques in the heart of the imperial city to be built for him prior to the untimely death of its then 27-year old eponymous patron, Sultan Ahmet I. The magnificent mosque of Istanbul of the majestic city attraction with its elegant composition of ascending domes and six slender soaring minarets. The mosque is giving a panoramic view through its hippodrome.
A mistake produced A Masterpiece
The Blue Mosque was designed to reflect the imperial strength of the ruler to complement the imposing Hagia Sophia, what is clearly exposed in its elephant feet representation pillars, the central dome which is surrounded by a cluster of smaller semi-domes. The mosque took more than over 20,000 handmade ceramic Iznik tiles that decorate the interior, different floral motives and the place got its light through more than 260 windows with stained glass.
The most distinctive architectural elements of this Istanbul mosque is its six minarets, as opposed to the usual two or four of most of the city’s mosques. The story behind the magnificent minarets seems to have a misunderstanding story, as the sultan asked golden minarets ( altın minaret ) to be built, but the architect wrongly got it altı minaret (six minarets). The result made the Sultan upset so instead of fixing the mosque of Turkey - Istanbul, a new 7th minaret was ordered to be added to Prophet’s mosque in Mecca.
The Blue Mosque Architecture and Decorative project
The mosque features two major sections: First, the large unified prayer hall crowned by the main dome and an equally spacious courtyard. In contrast to earlier imperial mosques in Istanbul, the monotony of the exterior stone walls is relieved through numerous windows and a blind arcade. Huge elevated and recessed entrances penetrate three sides of its precinct to provide access to the sacred core, calligraphy art of Koranic verses.
The courtyard’s inner frame is a domed arcade, which is uniform on all sides except for the prayer hall entrance where the arches expand. Four of the pencil-shaped minarets are positioned on the corners of the mosque’s prayer hall while the other two flanks the external corners of the courtyard. Each of these "pencil" minarets has a series of balconies adorning its lean form. To extend the prayer hall of the mosque a series of half domed ceilings were built to join the exterior wall of the mosque. An arcaded gallery running along the interior walls except on the qibla wall facing Mecca. A marble Mihrab set into the center of this wall guides the faithful to the correct direction for prayer. To the right side, a tall and thin marble pulpit (minbar).
The decorative elements of the mosque included geometric bands and organic medallions of bright reds and blues, now replaced with artificial ones. There are 3 entrances to the mosque, and after entering inside one gets shocked by the floral and geometrical interiors. When visiting the mosque, keep in mind to take off your shoes, as part of Muslim tradition when entering a mosque. The major historical city and second Capital of Turkey, Istanbul, comprising more historical attractions including the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, the Archeology Museum, the Basilica Cistern and the Grand Bazaar.
Blue Mosque of Sultan Ahmed is always opened for visits except for the Muslim prayer times. The Entrance is Free of Charge, all that you should follow is the Muslim dress code for women to be body and hair covering.