With its beautiful domes, an impressive courtyard and six minarets, the Blue Mosque is one of the most prominent landmarks of Istanbul. It is located at the Sultanahmet square just opposite the Hagia Sophia Museum. It was founded by Sultanahmet in 1616 and was named after him. Although among the tourists it is famous as Blue Mosque for its 17th century Blue Iznik tiles.
Sultan Ahmet, I wanted to build a mosque with minarets made of gold which is ‘altin’ in Turkish. The architect Sedefkâr Mehmed Ağa misunderstood him as ‘alti’ which is six in English. But upon completion, the Sultan liked the 6 minarets very much. Before that, no sultan had a mosque with 6 minarets.
It is an extraordinary mosque with six minarets. There is 260 windows-floods light on all sides. The interior of the mosque is decorated by masses of beautifully designed Blue, Yellow, green and red tiles. All the more stunning is the colorfully stained glass windows which make this the most colorful mosque. The complex consisted of a mosque, tombs, madrassas, fountains, kitchens, a health center, shops, bathrooms, houses, and storehouses.
Entry into the mosque is free and it is open from 0900 to 1800. There are three entrances to the main building, one from the inner courtyard and two from both sides of the building. The North door of the mosque is used for tourists where as the West door of the mosque is reserved for Muslim prayers.
Upon the entrance to the mosque, you should have a keener look at the gate. The gate is a typical Seljuk-Turkish wooden style with a special design in its center. If you ponder at the stars, it symbolizes the Turkish generation and very typical of early 11-12th century Turkish Art. It is required for ladies to bring head scarves or they can borrow it from the entrance. If you see someone praying in the mosque, please do not walk in front of him. Muslims do not like anyone walking in front of them while they are praying because it is misinterpreted as if they were praying to the person in front of them instead of God.