The Sultanahmet Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque, is one of the most iconic landmarks in Istanbul, Turkey. Located in the Sultanahmet district, the mosque is a stunning example of Ottoman architecture and is considered one of the most beautiful mosques in the world.
The mosque was built in the early 17th century by Sultan Ahmet I, who wanted to create a monument that would rival the nearby Hagia Sophia. The mosque was designed by the famous architect Sedefkar Mehmed Ağa, and it took seven years to complete.
One of the most striking features of the mosque is its six minarets, which are rare in Islamic architecture. According to legend, the sultan ordered the construction of six minarets to rival the Great Mosque of Mecca, which also had six minarets. However, this caused controversy at the time, as Mecca was considered the holiest site in Islam, and many believed that no mosque should have more than four minarets. To appease the controversy, the sultan ordered a seventh minaret to be built in Mecca, and the issue was resolved.
The mosque is also known for its stunning interior, which features intricate tile work and beautiful stained glass windows. The walls of the mosque are covered in more than 20,000 handmade ceramic tiles, which are painted in shades of blue, green, and white. The tiles feature intricate patterns and floral designs, and they are arranged in a way that creates a mesmerizing effect.
The main prayer hall of the mosque is also breathtaking, with a high ceiling and dozens of chandeliers hanging from it. The mihrab, which indicates the direction of Mecca, is made of marble and features intricate carvings and calligraphy.
Visitors to the mosque are required to remove their shoes and cover their heads before entering. Non-Muslims are allowed to visit the mosque outside of prayer times, and there is no entry fee. However, it is important to be respectful and dress appropriately, as the mosque is still an active place of worship.
The Sultanahmet Mosque is a testament to the beauty and grandeur of Ottoman architecture, and it is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Istanbul. Its stunning interior and intricate design make it one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, and it is a symbol of the rich cultural heritage of Turkey.