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Istanbul Travel Guide

The Blue Mosque

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque or The Blue Mosque (called by the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior) is one of the most remarkable landmarks of Istanbul and considered to be the last example of Ottoman classical architecture.

The Blue Mosque was founded by Sultan Ahmet I (1603-1617) and was completed after the sultan's death in 1617. The sultan ordered to the architect Mehmed Aga to begin constuction in 1609 and the whole complex was completed in 1616. The location of the mosque is just opposite of the splendid Church of Hagia Sophia.

The architecture of the mosque boasts splendid and perfect proportion of domes and semidomes as well as the splendid minarets. Covering a large area the mosque features a big courtyard where some ablution fountains are located. These fountains are for people who are getting prepared to pray in the mosque. Also there are beautiful marble steps right in the middle of the courtyard, built with marble brought from Marmara, leading to the main courtyard. The interior galleries have displays of tiles composed in panels at the balcony level depicting gardens with cypresses, flowers and fruit trees, but the most precious tiles have been used to decorate the royal lodge, which has notable jade and gilt work in its marble mihrab niche.

The Blue Mosque is the only mosque in Turkey that has six minarets. This bought some problem to the Sultan and he was criticized for presumption, because it had the same number as at the mosque of the Ka'aba in Mecca. To resolve the problem, he had to pay for a seventh minaret at the Mecca mosque.

To entrance to the mosque, taken the shoes and put in a plastic bag is required.

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