Blue Mosque in Istanbul (Turkey) - a mosque with six minarets
Location show on map
Sultan Ahmet, Atmeydanı Cd. No:7, 34122 Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey
Date of build
August 1609 - construction begins
June 2, 1616 - completion of construction
A mosque built by order of Sultan Ahmet I between 1609 and 1616 in the square named after him in Istanbul. Sadly, Sultan Ahmed I had only a brief moment to pray in his mosque, as he died a few months after its opening. His tomb is located on the north side of the mosque, across from Sultanahmet Park.
This is the first mosque in Turkey with six minarets. When the Mosque was built, it caused hostility because at that time Mecca was the only temple with six minarets. Therefore, many Muslims considered it disrespectful to the Kaaba (Ka'bah). To rectify this, Sultan Ahmed I funded a seventh minaret for the mosque in Mecca.
There are many anecdotes about why the mosque has six minarets. The most famous of these is that Sultan Ahmet wanted the minarets to be made of gold, but the architect, who did not have enough money, decided to ignore the request, which was too expensive, and explaining hearing problems and overhearing, built six (altı in Turkish) minarets instead of gold (altın in Turkish) minarets.
The dimensions of the mosque are 64 by 72 meters, while the height of its minarets is 64 meters.
The central dome is 43 meters high and 23.5 meters in diameter, in addition to it there are 4 main domes and 8 smaller domes. Each semi-dome has 14 windows, and the central dome has 28 windows, four of which are blind.
The mosque is named after its main dome.
The mosque takes its name from the color of the interior, which is lined with over 20,000 handmade Iznik tiles. Iznik is an Anatolian city famous for its traditional turquoise-colored ceramics. The tiles feature over fifty different tulip designs. Other motifs include cypress trees, fruit and roses, evoking visions of an abundant paradise.
The upper levels of the mosque's interior are dominated by blue paint. More than 250 stained-glass windows with intricate designs let in natural light. There are ostrich eggs on the chandeliers to repel spiders and prevent spider webs.
The wall decorations include verses from the Quran, many of which were done by Seyyid Kasim Gubari, considered the greatest calligrapher of his time.
The interiors have carpeted floors, these are gifts from the faithful and are regularly replaced with new ones when needed.
The courtyard is as large as the mosque itself and is surrounded by a continuous vaulted arcade. In the center is a small, hexagonal fountain. The monumental but narrow entrance gate to the courtyard stands out architecturally against the arcade. The half-dome of the gate has a fine stalactite structure, topped by a small ribbed dome on a high tholobate (the vertical part of the building on which the dome rises).
In front of the mosque are the funerary buildings and tombs of Ahmed I and members of his family.
The mosque is the city's most important tourist attraction, attracting 5 million tourists every year. They can visit the interior daily, outside of prayer times, while remaining respectful and dressing appropriately.
The "Historic Areas of Istanbul" were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. These areas include the Blue Mosque, as well as many other Byzantine and Ottoman monuments, including the Hagia Sophia, the Topkapi Palace Museum and the Chora Church.
"All the master architects and engineers gathered, and the work began, accompanied by the prayers of Üsküdarlı Mahmut Efendi and our master Evliya Efendi." - description of the foundation stone in the words of Evliya Çelebi