The Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Mosque) is one of the most beautiful mosques and landmarks in both Istanbul and the world. Blue Mosque was built in the 17th century (1603-1617) by Sedefkar Mehmet Aga (2nd important architect after Mimar Sinan) with the order of Sultan Ahmet I.
Its name comes from the very beautiful blue interior “Iznik tiles”. It was the only mosque with six minarets in the world, but now shares this reputation as a new mosque named “Camlica Mosque” is constructed in the Camlica Hill of Istanbul’s Asian side in 2019.
Located in the Sultanahmet neighborhood of Fatih district, along the Sultanahmet Sqaure, the Blue Mosque is a great sample of the Turkish and Islamic architecture and one of the most visited sights and mosques in Istanbul. It can also be considered as a triumph of harmony, proportion and elegance.
No Regrets Blue Mosque Tours
If you are looking for the best Blue Mosque guided tours, trust our recommendations, save time and money, we have you covered. Below are some of best experiences you can find! Feel free to book online in advance (as you’ll get discounts), by choosing the eco-friendly option of online tickets.
- Combo: Basilica Cistern + Blue Mosque + Hagia Sophia Guided Tour Tickets
- Combo: Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern & Hagia Sophia Tour (one of the best)
- Blue Mosque and Sultanahmet Square Tour & Historian Guide
History of the Blue Mosque
Blue Mosque is the first mosque of an Ottoman Sultan, constructed with an allowance from the treasury of the Ottomans. It was built on the site of the former Ayse Sultan Palace, since the site was bought for 30,000 gold. Sultan Ahmet I and many other statesman have worked on the construction of the mosque. It is also known that, Sultan Ahmet I made the first hit on the mosque’s groundbreaking ceremony and his pickax is exhibited in the Topkapi Palace.
After the completion of the mosque, it received a big criticism from the different parts of the community. Main reason for this, was the mosque’s having 6 minarets like the holy Mecca Mosque which generates kind of a competition on people’s minds.
And the 2nd reason was the high amount of money spent despite the decrease in the income of the Empire. After, when Sultan Ahmet I ordered to build the 7th minaret in the holy Mecca Mosque, some of those criticism ended.
The site of the Blue Mosque used to be a big complex including many buildings such as a Medrese (a Moslem theological school), Sultan’s pavilion, an Almshouse and Hamam (Turkish Bath). Majority of those building couldn’t survive until today.
Anyways, you may see the tomb of Sultan Ahmed I and a sundial at the courtyard of the Blue Mosque. The famous Great Palace Mosaics Museum, an impressive mosaics museum preserved from the from the Great Palace of Constantinople also situated at the site of the complex.
The Interior of the Blue Mosque
You may enter the courtyard of the Blue Mosque from 3 gates. The interior of Blue Mosque has a main glorious dome of 43 meters height and of 23,5 meters diameter.
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The walls of the Blue Mosque are decorated with 22,000 pieces of famous Iznik and Kutahya tiles. And there are 260 windows.
Visiting Hours & Admissions
Open every day, every hour, no limitations
Entrance to the Blue Mosque is FREE of charge.
Visiting Blue Mosque Insider Tips
* Blue Mosque is a live mosque that you should respect some rules. First of all, visitors are kindly requested to show respect to prayers in the mosque by not making so much noise and take care of their dresses.
* Some parts of the mosque used by prayers are temporarily closed to the visitors on Friday worship at noon, as not to disturb.
* You’ll also be kinda contacted with several people around the Blue Mosque and Sultanahmet Square for guidance requests. Don’t pay attention, don’t look in their eyes, and talk with beggars, and people coming beside and ask for helping with guidance around or for money.
* Keep an eye out for unofficial guides (guides should have official badge on).
* While entrance to the Blue Mosque is FREE of charge, we highly recommend you take a guided tour to experience the most of the history and sights of the Mosque from an official historian guide. And you can also avoid yourself from stupid guidance requests and beggars.
Why is Blue Mosque famous?
The Blue Mosque, officially known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, is famous for its stunning architecture and the intricate blue tiles that adorn its interior, giving it the name “Blue Mosque.” Built during the early 17th century, it is an iconic symbol of Istanbul, showcasing the grandeur of Ottoman architecture and the cultural richness of the city.
Is Blue Mosque worth it?
Absolutely, the Blue Mosque is worth a visit. Its impressive domes, towering minarets, and the exquisite tile work inside make it a captivating sight. Beyond its architectural significance, it holds cultural and historical importance, providing visitors with a glimpse into the Ottoman era.
Is there a dress code for Blue Mosque?
Yes, there is a dress code for the Blue Mosque. Visitors are required to dress modestly, covering their shoulders and knees. For both men and women, it’s advisable to wear long pants or skirts and have shoulders covered. Scarves are provided for those who need to cover their heads.
How long do you spend at the Blue Mosque?
The duration of your visit to the Blue Mosque depends on your interest in architecture, history, and the crowd size. On average, plan for about 30 minutes to an hour to explore the mosque and its surroundings.
How to get tickets for Blue Mosque?
Entrance to the Blue Mosque is free. Being an active place of worship, visitors are welcome to enter outside of prayer times. However, donations for the upkeep of the mosque are appreciated.
Can you enter the Blue Mosque for free?
Yes, entrance to the Blue Mosque is free. However, donations are encouraged to support the maintenance and conservation efforts.
What time should I visit the Blue Mosque?
It’s best to visit the Blue Mosque during non-prayer times to explore freely. Mornings and late afternoons are generally less crowded. Be mindful of the prayer schedule, and avoid visiting during those specific times.
Do you need a tour guide for Blue Mosque?
While not mandatory, having a tour guide can enhance your visit by providing historical context and details about the architecture and cultural significance. Guides can help you navigate the mosque respectfully and understand its role in Istanbul’s history.
A Tour of Blue Mosque and Sultanahmet Square
This is offered by Istanbul Welcome Card and we highly recommend. You’ll discover and enjoy all the historical buildings from outside that surround the ancient imperial square of Istanbul. Between the monuments, your guide will take you through the ages of Istanbul – from antiquity to modern times.
During this tour, we will discover all the historical buildings from outside that surround the ancient imperial square of Istanbul. Between the monuments, your guide will take you through the ages of Istanbul – from antiquity to modern times.
Our website visitors will get 5% extra discount. Just click the red button below and make sure you see the discounted price on the official page.
How to Get to Blue Mosque?
The Blue Mosque is situated in the Sultanahmet neighborhood of Fatih district, along the Sultanahmet Sqaure, just across the famous Hagia Sophia Museum and Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts. See the location map.
The most practical way to get to Sultanahmet is via Bagcilar-Kabatas tram (T1 line).
- The closest tram stop is Sultanahmet.
- Sultanahmet Square and most of the connecting roads are closed for vehicle traffic except tram and tour buses.
- From Taksim, take the funicular to Kabatas (from taksim Square) or funicular to Karakoy (from Tunel square) and than take the tram.
- If you stay at the Sultanahmet hotels, than you easily walk to the museum.
Check our Sultanahmet page to see how to get to Sultanahmet in details.
Address: Sultanahmet Square, Fatih, Istanbul