About Blue Mosque Istanbul

One of the most stunning features of the Istanbul skyline, the Blue Mosque is among the most prominent landmarks of the Turkish capital. Constructed to surpass the ancient Hagia Sophia, the architecture of the Blue Mosque combines traditional Ottoman styles with Hagia Sophia-inspired Byzantine figurines and awe-inspiring Islamic arts.

The exteriors of the iconic mosque, with five main domes, eight secondary domes, and six minarets, are as enchanting as its unmatched interiors. More than 20,000 handcrafted blue Iznik tiles embellished with 50 varying motifs adorn the interior walls of the mosque, giving the structure its famous name.

Recorded into the UNESCO World Heritage List of Zones Historiques Istanbul, the seventeenth-century mosque, also known as the Sultanahmet Mosque, is still open for those who wish to offer prayers. More than 200 stained glass windows let sunlight into the interiors, creating a spiritual atmosphere like no other. The iconic landmark is also the resting place of its ambitious patron, Sultan Ahmet I, who succeeded in creating a structure that rivals the legendary Hagia Sophia.

History Of Blue Mosque

History Of Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque Istanbul history can be traced back to the seventeenth century when the massive Ottoman Empire was ruled by its fourteenth Sultan, Sultan Ahmet I. In a period when the hills of Istanbul were full of mosques named after the Sultans who commissioned them, the young new Sultan wished to construct a structure that would surpass the glory of one of the city’s greatest icons, the Hagia Sophia.

As the Fifteen Years’ War between the Ottomans and the Habsburgs came to an end, there was a perception that citizens of the empire were losing trust in the Ottomans. To reassert his authority and boost the morale of his people, Sultan Ahmet I ordered the construction of a mosque right next to the Hagia Sophia.

It was in 1609 that the construction was kickstarted by the Sultan as per the architectural plans of Mehmet Aga, the chief architect of the palace. The magnificent structure saw completion in 1616, seven years after the building process had begun. There were various names given, from the New Mosque to the Sultanahmet Camii to its most popular name, the Blue Mosque.

A unique feature of the Blue Mosque was that it had six minarets, constructed to the Sultan’s wishes to make the new structure different from other mosques. This, however, drew backlash from the Muslim community, as only the Kaaba in Mecca had six minarets earlier. The community saw the Sultan’s decision as disrespect, a notion that he dismissed by commissioning a seventh minaret at Kaaba.

A unique amalgamation of Byzantine and Ottoman architectural traditions, the Blue Mosque is famous for its six minarets, five main domes, and eight secondary domes. Even more popular is the interior décor, as 20,000 handcrafted blue Iznik tiles embellished with Ottoman motifs adorn the walls. As the tiles give the mosque its name, the enchanting structure is lit up from within by more than 200 stained glass windows and gorgeous chandeliers. The Blue Mosque, locally known as the Sultanahmet Mosque, is also the resting place of its visionary patron, Sultan Ahmet I.

Interesting Facts About The Blue Mosque

Interesting Facts About The Blue Mosque
  • The Blue Mosque is also known as SultanAhmet Cami, among locals as the name comes from its location in SultanAhmet Square and the fact that it was commissioned by Sultan Ahmet I.
  • The mosque was constructed to surpass its ancient counterpart, Hagia Sophia, in size and beauty.
  • The history of Blue Mosque notes that it was the first mosque that had six minarets after the Kaaba at Mecca. To dispel the idea that this was a disrespect to the Kaaba, Sultan Ahmet I ordered the addition of a seventh minaret at Kaaba.
  • The Blue Mosque was named so because of the 20,000 blue Iznik tiles that adorn the interiors of the structure.
  • Natural lighting through more than 200 stained glass windows is how the structure was lit up throughout Blue Mosque Istanbul history.
  • Blue Mosque’s architecture is a blend of traditional Ottoman and Byzantine styles and is considered the classical period’s last great mosque.
  • The Sultanahmet Mosque is a fully functional religious structure. Visitors are not allowed in at prayer times and are requested to respect and not click pictures of worshippers.

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