Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii)
Officially named Sultan Ahmet Camii, this famous landmark is known to foreigners as the Blue Mosque on account of the more than 20,000 İznik tiles that adorn its interior. The Blue Mosque was completed in 1616 by Sultan Ahmet I, and is famous for being the first mosque in Turkey to have six minarets. Facing Hagia Sophia, from which it borrows certain stylistic elements, the Blue Mosque combines the two great influences of Byzantine and Ottoman religious architecture.
The mosque was built on Sultan Ahmet’s orders by the architect Sedefkâr Mehmet Ağa, and dramatically changed the city’s skyline. The exterior is built of beautiful grey stone and consists of a series of semi-domes leading up to the huge central dome and six minarets. The mosque sits in the center of a complex of buildings that used to function as a hospital, primary school, and medrese (theological school)—the latter two are still intact and visible from the primary entrance and the Hagia Sofia entrance, respectively.
Visitors are asked to wear relatively conservative clothes (no bare shoulders, shorts, or short skirts). Women will be given a scarf to cover their hair if they haven’t brought their own. Shoes need to be removed at the entrance; it’s recommended that you carry yours in a plastic bag (which may be provided at the entrance) rather than leaving them by the doorway. Given the heavy flow of both worshippers and tourists, there are currently separate entrances for each (just follow the signs) and if you arrive during prayer time, you may have to wait approximately 10 minutes to enter the mosque.
From Sultanahmet tram stop, walk downhill towards the Hagia Sophia. Sultanahmet Mosque is on the right, along the side of the old hippodrome.
- Historic Buildings & Sites
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