Sultanahmet Camii in Turkish which is well-known as the Blue Mosque is a historical place. Sultanahmet mosque is known as the blue mosque due to its blue tiles that covered the walls of the interior part of the mosque. Travelers always have many questions about vising the blue mosque from the entrance fee to the dress code, where to put their shoes, and so on. Here we are going to answer all these kinds of questions after knowing a short brief information about the history of the blue mosque.
All About Turkey Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii)
This historical Mosque was built during the empire of Ahmed I from 1609 to 1616. After losing in the 1603-1618 war with Persia, due to assert again Ottoman power, Sultan Ahmet I decided to build one of the biggest mosques in Istanbul.
For more than forty years, Sultanahmet mosque would be the first imperial mosque. This mosque like many other mosques in Turkey has a madrasa, a hospice, and importantly a tomb of the founder.
Sultanahmet mosque is not just a tourist attraction, it also is active, and the mosque is closed during prayer time for half hour to non-worshippers. This mosque is a historical mosque and the best way for seeing its architecture is at the Hippodrome. The entrance for non-Muslim and Muslim visitors is the same.
Structure of the Blue Mosque
In August 1609, the building of the mosque was begun. Sedefkar Mehmet Aa, a student of the famous architect Sinan, was in charge of the project. The eight-volume comprehensive notebook for the building is still kept in the library of Topkapi Palace.
In contrast to the year (1616) recorded on the mosque’s entrance, Sultan Ahmet I was present for the 1617 dedication of Istanbul’s final imperial mosque. And Sultan Ahmet’s successor Mustafa I signed the final accounts when the building had not yet been completed.
The Sultanahmet Mosque successfully integrates two different architectural styles. The nearby Hagia Sophia borrows Byzantine and conventional Islamic architectural features.
Architecture of the Blue Mosque
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque includes six minarets, eight secondary domes, and one main dome. The design is the pinnacle of the Ottoman Empire’s two centuries of mosque construction. It is regarded as the final major mosque of the classical era and combines specific Byzantine Christian characteristics of the nearby Hagia Sophia with conventional Islamic design. Sedefkâr Mehmed Aa, the architect, combined the concepts of his teacher Sinan, striving for enormous grandeur, majesty, and splendor.
• Interior of the Blue Mosque
More than 20,000 handmade ceramic tiles in the Iznik (ancient Nicaea) style, with more than fifty distinct tulip motifs, line the inside of the mosque at its lower levels and at each pier. Traditional-style tiles can be seen at lower levels and at the gallery level. the Iznik master was the supervisor of making and designing the tiles.
• Exterior of the Blue Mosque
Except for the turrets that are located on the corner of domes, the façade of Sultanahmet Mosque is the same as the front door of Süleymaniye Mosque. The court is enclosed by a continuous domed arcade almost the same size as the mosque itself (Revak). There are restrooms on both sides. In comparison to the courtyard, the main hexagonal fountain is tiny.
On the western side of the mosque entrance, a large iron chain is suspended in the top part of the door. Only the sultan was permitted to enter the mosque’s court by horse. The chain was placed there so that when the sultan entered the court, he would have to drop his head to avoid being struck. This was a symbolic action demonstrating the ruler’s respect for the divine.
• Minarets of the Blue Mosque
There are two mosques that have six minarets, one of them is Sabanc Mosque in Adana and the other one is Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Turkey. When the number of minarets was disclosed and since it was the same number of minarets as the Ka’aba in Mecca, Sultan was criticized for being presumptuous about Ka’aba. He overcomes this presumptuous by ordering the construction of a seventh minaret at the mosque in Mecca.
Some legends have it that the number of minarets is the result of a misunderstanding. They say that the architect made a simple error, Sultan ordered the altın minarets (gold minarets), but the architect heard altı minaret (six minarets).
Rules and Regulations of the Blue Mosque
There are some essential rules for entering the blue mosque, like wearing rules, rules about shoes, and laws about inside the mosque that every visitor should consider it. Here below is a brief description of all these rules.
• Wearing rules in the blue mosque
For women, a head covering is necessary for entering the Sultan Ahmad Mosque. Some free head coverings are accessible at the Blue Mosque entrance. You should put the cover on top of your head. Take one side, covering your shoulders, and wrap it around your neck. The covering is intended to conceal your hair; you don’t need to cover your face.
For men, wearing pants that are past your knees is necessary. Shorts and trousers that don’t reach the knees are inappropriate for visiting.
• Shoes rules in the blue mosque
Before entering the mosque, remove your shoes and put them in the plastic bags that are provided there. According to Muslim tradition, everyone must do this before entering a mosque.
• Rules about inside the mosque
You should be quiet and don’t use flash photography inside the mosque. Avoid gazing at or photographing people who are praying because this place is for worship. Visit the mosque in silence and respect. You can return head coverings to certain personnel who stand at the exit doors and also place used plastic bags in designated trash bags at the mosque’s exit.
The Best Time for Visiting the Blue Mosque
Since the blue mosque is an active mosque, so visiting time for tourist and pray are different.
• Visiting time for Tourists
The blue mosque is closed to tourists during the pray time. In general, the blue mosque is open from 8:30 am until dusk, and each prayer time takes 90 minutes during weekdays and 2 hours on Fridays.
• Visiting time for prayer
As mentioned before Sultan Ahmad mosque (Sultanahmet Camii, Blue Mosque) is a working mosque, so it is always open before morning prayer at 5:30 for Muslims from every nationality and country until the last praying time. Non-Muslims can also enter the mosque during prayer time but they cannot take a picture.
More about The Blue Mosque
More than 200 stained glass windows and many chandeliers within the mosque offer light. They placed ostrich eggs everywhere, like on the chandlers, to keep spiders away and prevent cobwebs inside the mosque. The carpets that cover the mosque are constantly changed when worn out.
The imperial loge, supported by ten marble columns, and the mihrab, built of exquisitely carved and sculptured marble, are noteworthy features of the central area.