Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet)

One of the most famous monuments of Turkish and Islamic art, Blue Mosque, is the only mosque that was originally built with six minarets. It’s located in one of the oldest settlements of Istanbul and therefore surrounded by many other outstanding historical structures. The mosque can be viewed from many different spots. Its real name is Sultan Ahmet Mosque.
The Mosque was decorated by the Architect Mehmet Aga fastidiously. Built between 1609- 1616, the mosque used to be part of a large complex, including a covered bazaar, Turkish baths, public kitchens, a hospital, schools, a caravanserai, and the mausoleum of Sultan Ahmet. Most of these social and cultural buildings have not survived to our day. The main entrance to Sultan Ahmet Mosque is on the side where the historical Byzantine hippodrome is located. Single-domed mausoleum of Sultan Ahmet and the medrese (religious school) building are situated to the North in the inner courtyard surrounded by the outer courtyard and the edifice itself is located on an elevated platform. There are three entrances to the mosque interior. The wealthy and colorful vista inside created by the paintings, tiles and stained glass complements the exterior view. The small market building, repaired and reconstructed in recent years, is situated to the east of the mosque, on the Hagia Sophia side. The mosque is open to prayers and therefore visiting is not allowed during the regular prayers of the Muslims which is five times a day.

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Built between 1610-1617 in the reign of Ahmet I, by Sedefkar Mehmet Aga, a student of Sinan, this mosque, the only one in Istanbul with 6 minarets, commands admiration rising above the entrance to the Marmara Sea and the Bosphorus. People of every religion are mesmerized when they enter this mosque. Light streaming through its 260 windows, and the dazzling colours of more than 20,000 Iznik tiles decorated with plant and flower motifs in predominating shades of blue and turquoise, give this enclosed space a radiant atmosphere. Builders of mosques also constructed buildings nearby for public use. Of this complex, known as the Kulliye, the tomb of Sultan Ahmet, three wall fountains, a theological school and a clock tower exist today.

To the north of the mosque is Hunkar Kasri, a place for the sultan to rest when visiting the mosque, today the Carpet and Kilim Museum. In the Arasta Bazaar behind the Mosque, excavations revealed 42 columns and mosaic floors of the lower court of the Great Palace of Byzantium. Today this is the Mosaic Museum above which the 16 shops of the Arasta Bazaar are situated. The domes beside the park between Hagia Sophia and Sultanahmet Mosque are those of the largest double Turkish bath in Istanbul, Haseki Hurrem Sultan Hamam, This was built by Sinan for Roxana (Hurrem Sultan), beloved wife of Suleyman the Magnificent, as a source of income for Hagia Sophia. Today hand woven carpets naturally dyed pure wool in traditional patterns are exhibited for sale.

blue-mosque

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