Fascinating History of Blue Mosque
The fascinating story of building such a great mosque starts during the reign of Sultan Ahmed I, who built Blue Mosque Istanbul with the mastery construction done by the architect Sedefkar Mehmet Aga. The reason why was the Blue Mosque constructed is very comprehensible because it was hundred years after Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent’s reign when the Ottoman dynasty took the power to control the lands and seas over three continents. The Blue Mosque was built to reflect this worldwide majestic power of the Ottoman dynasty complementing the fame of Hagia Sophia. The construction started in 1609 and lasted till 1616 when the Blue Mosque in Istanbul was built in full form.
The Reputation of Iznik Tiles at Blue Mosque
Probably, the question triggering curiosity is what makes Blue Mosque famous in the world – its hugeness, artistic level of decoration or six minarets? Blue Mosque architecture has the breeze of traditional Islamic arts, footprints of Ottoman architecture and some glimpses of Byzantine figures inspired by Hagia Sophia. The indoor walls and dome floorings are covered by more than 20.000 İznik tiles having the tulip designs of 50 varying motifs. The lower floors of the mosque with more flower-like motifs are usually compared to the upper decorations of traditional İznik style. That’s why blue is the dominant color in the majority of the decorative pieces of Sultan Ahmet Mosque.
What is the Blue Mosque made of emerges as a question of its structure? It is known that the mihrab and Sultan’s mahfil were made of artistically carved and sculpted marble. Crystal lightings were added to reinforce the enlightenment provided by 28 vast windows letting sunlight in. Owing it to those breathtaking Iznik tiles and calligraphy examples to decorate the domes, the Blue Mosque was recorded into the UNESCO World Heritage List of Zones Historiques Istanbul in 1986.
Another fact of raising interest is the reason why Blue Mosque has 6 minarets. There is a legend-like story saying that Sultan Ahmed I ordered the architect to build-up golden minarets, which was assumed to be mistakenly understood as six in number due to the homonymic words in Turkish. After the Blue Mosque with six minarets had been completed, the Sultan was accused of being impertinent, since the Prophet’s Mosque in Mecca was the only example of its type with six minarets, at that time. What the Sultan did to overcome the problem was to add the seventh minaret to the latter to show his respect.
Visiting Tips at Blue Mosque
Blue Mosque is not considered merely as a museum but it is currently alive and opens its gates daily to worshipping Muslims. This fact makes visitors think about how to visit Blue Mosque and what to wear to the Blue Mosque. The visitors are always welcome to see this magnificent work of art during the day, except for half an hour, pauses avoiding distracting worshippers. During Friday rituals, Blue Mosque is closed for 90 minutes at noontime.
Another very important issue is about what to wear to the Blue Mosque. To respect God and the House of God, all visitors must take off their shoes and put on plastic covers instead while visiting Sultan Ahmet Mosque. Females are required to cover their heads, hair and their shoulders with a textile head cover (if they do not have long sleeves) before getting in. This is also a requirement for worshipping ceremonies. The visitors are expected to be respectful to the worshipping community during their tours by not staring at them or not using flash to take photos. You can have all the specific guidance about visiting this spiritual atmosphere during your selected Istanbul Old City Tour which is one of the walking favorites on the spot.
There is no entrance fee but a donation is welcome to support the cleaning and tidying up requirements for this historical masterpiece. If you are wondering whether can you visit the Blue Mosque at any time, the response is a big yes with exceptions. The building is open for prayer from early morning till late evening. Visitors can’t get in at when is Blue Mosque open for worshipping; they should wait until 09:00 in the morning and are free to visit until early evening before when the Blue Mosque is closed for tourists.
Blue Mosque Tour Selections
In order to arrange your Blue Mosque tour, you are strongly recommended to check exciting tour programs such as Blue Mosque Area Ottoman and Byzantine Heritage as well as Istanbul Classics and Highlights for a full day excursion.
If you want to enjoy your time after visiting the historical peninsula, there is a peculiar choice to feel the rhythm of Istiklal Street, just walk in Beyoğlu. It is easy to transfer from Blue Mosque to Istiklal Street by public transport. The Zeytinburnu-Beşiktaş tram stop is just opposite the square and there are bus lines connecting these places above. For international visitors, there is a private transfer from Blue Mosque to SAW Airport to save more time to explore the historic district.