The Blue Mosque, better known as the Sultan Ahmet Mosque. The Mosque popularly symbolizes the skyline of Istanbul. In the 17th century, Sultan Ahmet wished to construct a mosque or a worship place which will be better than Hagia Sophia. Today, both the Mosques stand next to each other as great architectural achievements in Istanbul square.
The Blue Mosque is built and commissioned by Sultan Ahmet I when he was 19 years old. The Mosque was built next to Hagai Sophia with Byzantine Imperial palace and hippodrome; its construction began in the year 1609 and was completed within seven years. It was designed and architect by Mehmet Aga, Sultan was quite anxious and nervous about the construction that he often helped in the work of construction. Sadly, after completion of the Mosque, he died at the age of 27. Sultan Ahmet was buried outside the mosque with his 3-sons and wife.
Today, the Mosque complex covers a hospital, madrasa, primary school, market, a Han, an imaret and the tomb of the founder. But most of the buildings were torn by the 19th century.
What to See
The six minarets are the most notable features of the Blue Mosque. The minarets are very unique as most of the mosques have 2, 4 or just one. But according to the account of history, Sultan Ahmet I directed to make gold minarets- altin in their respective language, which was misunderstood with six minarets- alti. While the six minarets created huge scandal, as the Haram Mosque, which is considered as holiest mosque also has 6-minarets. Soon the problem was solved, when the Sultan sent command to add 7th minarets.
The exterior cascade of domes are beautifully arranged, also the arcades running beneath each dome has visual rhythm. As none of the exterior is blue, the blue Mosque gets its name from blue color tiles used inside. Also the west entrance is worth a look beautifully decorated, it preserves the sanctity of the Mosque, while the non-worshippers are required to use other entrance of north. The Hanging symbolic chains mandatorily encourage everyone to bow his/her head while entering the Mosque.
The 20,000 blue tiles on high ceiling gives the Mosque its popular name. It is 16th centuries finest instance with blue tiles featuring flowers, trees, patterns and other design. The Iznik tiles are finest tiles and can be spotted in galleries, on the north wall and above the main entrance. The structure has 260-windows with stained glass, sadly these glass have been replaced with inferior replicas.