The Blue Mosque in Istanbul is one of the most incredible buildings in the city. And not only for its beauty, but it is the most important mosque in the Turkish capital. And, in addition, it is very close to another of Istanbul’s treasures: Hagia Sophia. A treasure that we are going to visit to tell you its history and some curiosities.
1. History of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul
The Blue Mosque in Istanbul was built in the 17th century with the aim of honoring Allah after the wars against the Safavid Empire. It was Sultan Ahmed I who ordered its construction, thinking that the bad fortune in the battles was due to the fact that Allah had become angry with the Turks.
In this way, a magnificent temple was designed and built. But this fact also brought problems to the Sultan, since mosques were usually built with the spoils of wars. As this was not the case, it was necessary to resort to treasury funds, which not everyone liked.
2. Construction of the mosque
Nothing was left to chance in the construction of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. It stands in the same place as the Great Palace of Constantinople. In fact, much of the mosque is located on the foundations and cellars of the palace.
In addition, this site is close to the old hippodrome, a place with special significance and, as we said at the beginning, a step away from Hagia Sophia, at that time the main mosque in the city. Hence the great symbolism of the place chosen to raise this magnificent building.
The Blue Mosque in Istanbul has dimensions very similar to Hagia Sophia. The size of the central dome stands out, which is no less than 23 meters in diameter and 43 meters high. And next to it, a whole series of smaller domes that are superimposed. Seen from the sky, its plant is shaped like a four-leaf clover.
Another aspect that must be known that its minarets caused a great controversy. Why? Because the mosque was built with the same number of minarets as the one in Mecca, six. The issue was solved in a somewhat peculiar way: building one more in Mecca.
4. Interior of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul
Its name indicates it in a clear way. And it is that the interior of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul is lined with more than 20,000 blue tiles. These tiles adorn and decorate the dome and upper part of the mosque and have more than 50 different designs.
But the beauty of the decoration could not be appreciated without the luminosity of the temple. Much of the light enters through 200 windows of different sizes. And they are joined by the magnificent chandeliers that hang from the ceilings. In this way, an almost magical atmosphere is created that envelops and invites prayer.
There remains a relevant element in the interior: the mihrab. It is clad in marble and contains a double panel filled with inscriptions.
5. Tips for visiting the Blue Mosque in Istanbul
The mosque’s hours are from 9 in the morning to 7 in the afternoon. But it must be taken into account that during the hours of worship tourists are prohibited from entering. Of course, the entrance is free.
Another important aspect is that to enter it you have to take off your shoes and wear suitable clothing. Especially women, who cannot wear bare shoulders or hair. And no one can enter either showing their legs. In any case, the most clueless at the entrance are provided with clothes to cover themselves.
The Blue Mosque of Istanbul is one of the great treasures of the city, a magnificent building inside and out that will leave you speechless from any point of view. In short, a place that you have to visit yes or yes.