The minarets of The Sultanahmet Mosque, popularly known as the Blue Mosque are the prominent sights of Istanbul’s skyline.
The Blue Mosque was commissioned in the 17th Century by Sultan Ahmet who was so eager to see the mosque finished that he often assisted in the construction work.
The mosque took seven years to complete and the Sultan died just a year after its completion. He and his wife and three sons are buried outside the mosque.
The mosque complex originally included a madrasa, hospital, primary school, market, imaret and the founder’s tomb, however most of the buildings were torn down in the 19th century.
The magnificent mosque is easily noticeable as it is spotted from far away, the six minarets are a very unique distinguishing feature.
The six reportedly caused uproar as the holiest mosque in the world, located in Mecca also had six minarets. The sultan had to send his architect over to add a seventh minaret, solving the problem.
The name ‘Blue Mosque’ comes from the 20,000 blue tiles that line the high ceiling inside the mosque.
Another beautiful aesthetic feature of the mosque is the nicely arranged cascade of domes that seem like they spill down from the central dome. Each dome has arcades running beneath them, adding to the beauty of the place.
Non-worshippers use the north entrance of the mosque, to preserve the sanctity of the mosque. The gate has symbolic chains hanging that encourage everyone who enters the premises to bow their heads upon entering.
The interior has a whopping 260 windows that used to be filled with 17th-century stained glass, sadly, they have been lost and replaced with replicas.