The Blue Mosque

Sultan Ahmed Mosque exterior view.

The Blue Mosque, known as Sultan Ahmed Mosque (or “camii”) in Turkish, is a historic mosque located in Istanbul, Turkey. Commissioned by Sultan Ahmed I and completed in 1616, this masterpiece stands as a testament to Ottoman craftsmanship and artistic finesse. The mosque’s architect was Sedefkar Mehmed Agha, who based it on an earlier design by his master Mimar Sinan – the renowned Ottoman chief architect and engineer who worked for sultans Suleiman the Magnificent, Selim II and Murad III.

The mosque earned its colloquial name, the Blue Mosque, from the stunning blue tiles that decorate its interior, creating a serene atmosphere and captivating visitors with their intricate floral patterns. It is situated in Sultanahmet Square near the Hagia Sophia, and together they form part of the historical and architectural heritage of the city.

Sultan Ahmed Mosque interior view,
Photo by: Christian Perez. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

With its six minarets, a central dome, and eight smaller domes, the Blue Mosque reflects Islamic, Byzantine, and Ottoman architectural elements. The central dome above the main prayer hall reaches a height of 43 metres (141 ft) and has a diameter of 23.5 metres (77 ft). Its courtyard, with gardens and fountains, offers a tranquil retreat from the bustling city. The mosque’s design, with cascading domes and its six minarets, creates an iconic silhouette in Istanbul’s skyline.

Similar to most other imperial mosques, the Blue Mosque had other structures around it, including an elementary school, a madrasa (an educational institution for higher education), the mausoleum of Ahmed I, and a hospital and public kitchen.

The Blue Mosque is still open for prayers, and it also attracts numerous tourists and visitors from all over the world, who come to admire its beauty and learn about its history.

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