Traveler Tips for Visiting the Blue Mosque in Istanbul

Still an active mosque to this day, the Sultan Ahmed (SultanAhmet) Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque, is a top attraction in Istanbul. The culmination of its breathtaking exteriors and the captivating interior spaces are simply irresistible to travelers from around the world. Those seeking a truly memorable experience while in traveling in Istanbul will not want to miss this gem of the old world.

A Brief History of the Blue Mosque and Its Architecture

During the rule of Ahmed the First, this palatial site served as more than a place of worship. It also served as a tomb for the ruler, as a madrasah, and as a hospice.  Today, the mosque itself serves as a holy temple for many of the residents of Istanbul, Turkey, and is the highlight of the city itself.

As one of the first mosques in Turkey to have six minarets, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque was somewhat controversial post it’s construction by Sultan Ahmet I in 1616 due to the fact that the Kaaba in Mecca also boasted the same number, and the Sultan resolved the issue by ordering a seventh minaret at the holy site. There are five main domes that overwhelm the senses with the finest elements of Byzantine Christian and Ottoman elements from the classical period, and the interiors are just as captivating as the exterior of the mosque.

While the lower levels and piers are line with over 20,000 Iznik style ceramic tiles crafted by hand, the upper levels are dominated by intricate designs of various hues of blue paint. Over 200 spectacular stained glass windows permit the glorious natural light to penetrate the interior, which activates the crystalline magnificence of the many chandeliers.

Blue Mosque / Sultan Sultanhamet Visitor Information

Because this site serves as an active mosque, visiting hours are open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day; however, during times of prayer, the mosque is closed to visitors for about an hour and a half. Hours may also be varied during Islamic holidays and festivals. Please note, that all visitors are required to wear appropriate, modest attire and cover their heads before entering the mosque. Staff is happy to provide loaned scarves and head coverings at the entrance.

NEARBY HOTELS

Dosso Dossi Hotels Old City

Located in Sultanahmet district, Dosso Dossi Hotels Old City is within a walking distance from historical sites and the tram station. The property offers facilities including a Turkish bath, a sauna, and a fitness centre. The rooms of the hotel are equipped with soundproofing. 24-hour front desk and free WiFi is also available throughout.

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Deluxe Golden Horn Sultanahmet Hotel

Situated a 10-minute walk from Grand Bazaar, this luxurious hotel features rooms with Ottoman-style decorations and a fully-equipped gym. Historical sites such as Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque are within walking distance. The breakfast rooms and restaurant offer stunning views of the Sea of Marmara and Istanbul’s skyline.

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Bekdas Hotel Deluxe

With a roof-top restaurant overlooking the Sea of Marmara, Bekdas offers modern accommodation near Istanbul University. It is a 5-minute walk from the Grand Bazaar and 150 m from tram T1 Lalelı stop. Free WiFi is available throughout the property.

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Sura Hagia Sophia Hotel

Centrally in Sultanahmet area of the Historic Peninsula, Sura Hagia Sophia Hotel features a sit-down restaurant, a buffet restaurant and a bar. The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool and a lovely garden. Free Wi-Fi access is available.

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Hagia Sophia Hotel Istanbul Old City

This luxurious hotel is centrally in Sultanahmet district, surrounded by major cultural landmarks of the old city. The hotel has stylish rooms with free Wi-Fi, next to Basilica Cistern and 80 m from Hagia Sophia.

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Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet

In a three-story, neo-classic prison building with a landscaped courtyard, the Four Seasons Sultanahmet is in the center of Istanbul’s Old Town. It has luxury accommodations with original works by Turkish artisans, such as handwoven Turkish rugs.

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Sura Design Hotel & Suites

Centrally located in Sultanahmet district, this designer hotel features a palace-like interior. Its modern rooms are soundproof, peaceful accommodations with free Wi-Fi.

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