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.
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 pickaxe is exhibited in the Topkapi Palace.
After the compleition 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 pavillion, 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. The walls of the Blue Mosque are decorated with 22,000 pieces of famous Iznik and Kutahya tiles. And there are 260 windows.
The 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 noice and take care of their dresses. The parts of the mosque used by prayers are temporarily closed to the visitors on Friday worship as not to disturb.
Entrance is free of charge.
You may explore the Blue Mosque via daily tours made by the local travel agents with professional guides. It is a very good option if you don’t want to go through the hassle of making all the arrangements including the tickets, waiting at the queue and 2-ways transportation by your own and feel like you may have troubles with them.
We recommend the two world brands GetYourGuide or Viator tours, made by the best reputed and registeredtour agents in Istanbul and offer comfortable, safe and the cheapest tours with 2-ways transportation from your hotel or meeting point, professional guides, insurance and easy cancellation. You may find the top selling guided Blue Mosque tours below.
How to Get There?
Getting to Blue Mosque is very easy and there are several trasnportation options.
- For the ones who stay in the Sultanahmet hotels, they can get to Blue Mosque by walking.
- From Taksim, you may take the Bagcilar-Kabatas tram (T1 line) from the Kabatas stop or the other stops along the Galata Bridge. To get to tram stops; from the Taksim Square, you may take the Taksim-Kabatas funicular (F1 line), get to Kabatas tram stop and take the tram for Sultanahmet. And from the end of the Istiklal Avenue, on the Tunel Square, you may walk downwards or take the Tunel-Karakoy funicular (F2 line) to get to Karakoy tram stop and take the tram for Sultanahmet.
- From Kadikoy or Uskudar, on the Asian side, you may take the ferries operating to Kabatas, Karakoy or Eminonu and from there you may take the Bagcilar-Kabatas tram (T1 line) for Sultanahmet.
- Check the Istanbul Railway Network Map for the Tram stops and Istanbul Ferry Lines Map for ferries.
- Also note that the Sultanahmet Square and most of the connecting roads are closed for vehicle traffic except tram and tour busses. Getting to Sultanahmet by your private car is not recommended. You’ll need to leave your car far away.