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.