Blue Mosque - the most important information
Blue Mosque, more formally known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque is the imperial mosque built in Istanbul during the period of the Ottoman Empire. It was built between 1609 and 1616 and is still active. It is most known for its hand-painted blue tiles that make the decoration of the interior of the mosque. What adds more to its name are the blue lights that illuminate the mosque’s domes and minarets. It is located next to Hagia Sophia, which makes it one of the central landmarks in the city.
History of Blue Mosque
Usually, after they’ve won a war, rulers would build a temple in the name of victory. But, Sultan Ahmed I did the contrary. After the loss in the war with Persia and the Peace of Zsitvatorok made with Habsburg Monarchy after a fifteen-year-long war, he decided to build a mosque. He did that in order to reassert the power of the Empire. Since he lost his wars, he hasn’t gained much money from them in order to build his mosque, as tradition dictates. Instead of using war money, he took the money from the Treasury, which provoke anger in people. Nevertheless, the mosque was finished after seven years of construction. It was located on the site of the palace of the Byzantine emperors, just in front of Hagia Sophia.
What to see in Blue Mosque?
- The architecture - The mosque is built with five main domes, six minarets, and eight secondary domes. This makes the mosque huge and spacious. The similarity to the Hagia Sophia can is noticeable, but with much more Islamic decorations and writings.
- Ceramic tiles - The interior of the mosque is adorned with more than 20.000 hand-painted tiles in more than fifty different tulip designs.
- Mihrab - Mihrab is a niche in the wall of a mosque that shows on which side of the world is located the Kabba in Mekka, towards which people face when praying.
- Writings - On every wall in the mosque there are writings from Quran.
Tickets and Opening Hours
- Opening hours - Since the mosque is closed during prayings, these are the reopening hours. The mosque is open from 08:30 to 11:30, from 13:00 to 14:30, and from 15:30 to 16:45. The opening for Friday is at 13:30.
- Tickets - Since this is a mosque, there is no entrance fee, but you can always make a donation to the mosque.
How to get to Blue Mosque?
- If you're coming from Taksim Square, the city's main square, you can ride the F1 Funicular to Kabatas. In Taksim Square, the F1 funicular is located inside the metro station.
- From Kabatas Tram Station, take Tram T1 to Sultanahmet. This will take you around 15 minutes.
What should you know before visiting?
There is a dress code regulated for entering the mosque. Women should wear a headscarf covering their hair, and men should wear long pants. Skirts, t-shirts on straps, and shorts can’t be worn in the mosque. When entering the mosque you will also have to take your shoes off and put them in the bag provided at the entrance. When taking photos, do not use flashlights or take pictures of the people who are praying.
Blue Mosque trivia
- The mosque has 260 stained glass windows.
- The 20.000 blue tiles adorning the interior were made in Iznik, an area that was famous during the Ottoman Empire for its production of ceramic tiles. Because of those tiles, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque is today known as the Blue Mosque.
- In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI visited the Blue Mosque. This visit happened again in 2014 by Pope Francis.
- The Blue Mosque was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1985 under the name of Historic Areas of Istanbul.
- The Blue Mosque is the only mosque in Istanbul that has six minarets.