Blue Mosque In Istanbul – A Mosque Of Majesty And Splendor

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul (Sultan Ahmet Mosque), with it’s prominent central dome and four semi – domes, is considered by many to be the last “great imperial mosque” of the Ottoman Empire era, and its awe-inspiring splendor leaves little doubt. Continue reading to find out more about the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, or book one of our epic Egypt and Turkey tours and visit the site in person with one of our professional guides and a private driver.
Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey

The Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque) in Istanbul, Turkey.

Know before you Go – 7 interesting Facts about the Blue Mosque in Istanbul

1. The Blue Mosque, also known as Sultan Ahmed Mosque is a 17th century mosquethat was built by Sultan Ahmed I between 1609 and 1616 in what was then the city center of Istanbul, Turkey.

2. The mosque gets its name from the blue tiles adorning its interior walls, which give the mosque a unique and striking appearance.

3. The Blue Mosque in Istanbul has six minarets, which was considered a bold move at the time of its construction as it equaled the number of minarets at the Grand Mosque in Mecca.

4. The mosque has a large courtyard, five main domes, and eight secondary domes, adding to its impressive architectural design.

5. The interior of the mosque is adorned with over 20,000 handmade and hand painted blue tiles. The interior walls are also adorned with a multitude of ceramic tiles in various shades of green and red, creating intricate floral and geometric patterns.

6. This historic mosque is conveniently located in Istanbul, and within walking distance from a number of other popular tourist attractions, including the 15th century Topkapi Palace and the world famous Hagia Sophia.

7. The Blue Mosque, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most iconic attractions in Istanbul, drawing visitors from around the world to admire its stunning architecture and rich history.

Islamic Architecture meets Byzantine Architecture

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul, or to use its proper name, the Sultan Ahmet Mosque, is considered by many to be the last great mosque built during the classical period. It is sometimes said that Sedefkar Mehmed Aga, the person who designed this beautiful mosque had three main objectives in mind:

  • Overwhelming size
  • Overwhelming majesty
  • Overwhelming splendor

In fact, many believe that Sultan Ahmet had this historic mosque built opposite the Hagia Sophia Mosque in the hope that its splendor would rival that of the Hagia Sofia.

One of the interesting aspects of this magnificent mosque is that while the mosque architecture is fundamentally Islamic, it also incorporates a number of Byzantine features.

Six Minarets – a Matter of Contention

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul is also the first mosque ever built outside of Mecca with six minarets. Prior to the mosque being built, no mosque was allowed to have more than four minarets, which resulted in quite a bit of contention at the time. In fact, the issue was only laid to rest when a seventh minaret was finally added to the revered Masjid al-Haram Mosque in Mecca.

Handmade Tiles; Colored Glass Windows And Elaborate Chandeliers

At the lower level, as well as at every pier, the walls of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul are covered by more than 20,000 ceramic tiles, all of which are handmade. While the tiles used for the lower level are in line with longstanding tradition, those on the upper level beautifully decorated.

Ironically, as construction of the mosque progressed, the quality of the tiles declined since the sultan had set a fixed price for the tiles when construction first got underway. In order for the tile makers to stick within their budget, they were forced to cut back on quality.

The mosque also has more than two hundred intricately designed stained glass windows, some of which were given to the sultan as a gift from the Signoria of Venice. Unfortunately, many of the original windows have been replaced over the years, and their replacements cannot compete as far as splendor is concerned.

Originally the mosque was illuminated entirely by natural light passing through the stained glass windows, but numerous chandeliers were later added. As with everything else in the mosque, the chandeliers are also works of art.

If you are going to be booking one of our Egypt and Turkey tour packages, we can easily include a visit to this mosque even if it is not featured in your preferred tour itinerary.

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul  As It Stands Today

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul is still used as a place of worship today, just as it has been for the last 400 years. However, it has also become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Turkey. The mosque is generally open to tourists every day other than during daily prayer times. The mosque also houses the tomb of Sultan Ahmed, its founder, as well as a hospice and a madrasah.

An Historical Papal Visit

On November 30, 2006 Pope Benedict XVI made international headlines by visiting the Blue Mosque in Istanbul  during his visit to Turkey. He is only the second Pope ever to have visited a Muslim place of worship, and the only Pope to have visited this particular mosque. After two minutes of silent meditation inside the mosque, he famously said that he believes Turkey will be the bridge which will one day join the East and the West.

Fees And Dress Code When Visiting Sultan Ahmed Mosque

Entrance to the Blue Mosque in Istanbul  is free regardless of whether you are Muslim or non-Muslim. The dress code at the mosque is the same as it is at virtually all mosques:

Shoes must be removed prior to entering, and can be placed in plastic bags which are provided at the mosque free of charge. Men must wear long pants and either a T-shirt or a long sleeve shirt.

Women, on the other hand, must ensure that both their legs and their arms are covered, and they are also expected to wear something to cover their hair, neck and shoulders. If you don’t have your own head covering, one will be provided free of charge at the entrance to the mosque.

NOTE: – The mosque typically closes for tourists one hour before prayer time and opens again 30 minutes after official prayer times. Non-Muslims and and anyone else not visiting for the purpose of prayer are required to enter the mosque via the south entrance rather than via the prayer hall entrance.

No amount of words can describe the real splendor and beauty of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. You really have to see the Istanbul Blue Mosque for yourself to really appreciate it in all its glory, so why not book one of our flawless Egypt and Turkey tours and enjoy a holiday of a lifetime in absolute comfort and style.

The Blue Mosque – Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, the Blue Mosque is open to tourists of all faiths. At Egypt Tours Plus, you can enjoy bespoke fully customizable Turkey tour packages with your your personal guide, driver and vehicle. We also have a fantastic selection of high quality private Egypt and Turkey combination tours that be customized to include any an all attractions of your choosing.

We recommend allocating one to two hours if you want to make the most of your visit to this famous mosque. If you are going to visit as part of a guided tour, you should allocate an additional 30 to 45 minutes.

There are a number of tourist attractions that are within walking distance of the Blue Mosque, with the most popular and most visited attractions being the Hagia Sofia Mosque, Topkapi Palace and the Basilica Cistern.

No, but all females should cover both their legs and their arms. A head scarf or other simiilar garment must also be used to cover your hair, neck and shoulders.

Yes, visitors can take photos inside the mosque, but they should be respectful of anyone who is in the mosque for the purpose of prayer. Visitors should also refrain from photographing locals/strangers without their permission.

Turkey Tour Packages

Learn more about our Turkey Tour Packages here…

The Ultimate Turkey and Greece Tour
Turkey Group Tour, The Best of Turkey
Five-City 10-Day Turkey Small Group Tour
Grand 10-Day Turkey-Greece Trip
10-Day Turkey Private Tour
Grand 7-Day Istanbul and Athens Tour
7 Day Turkey Itinerary – The Seven Apocalyptical Churches
6 day Turkey itinerary
4 days in Istanbul itinerary

Egypt and Turkey Tours

Learn more about our Egypt and Turkey Tours here…

Turkey, Greece, Egypt tour
Turkey, Egypt, Dubai, Abu Dhabi Tour
Egypt and Turkey Itinerary
Cairo – Istanbul Tour

Design Your Custom Turkey Tour

Explore Turkey your way by selecting only the attractions you want to visit

Last Updated on June 15, 2024