The Blue Mosque

Address: Sultan Ahmet, Atmeydanı Cd. No:7, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey

If there is one building to represent Istanbul, many may first think of the Blue Mosque. The gigantic blue domes, imposing prayer hall and delicate glazed and coloured ceramic tiles of the mosque impress the constant stream of visitors every year. It has become one of the most visited attractions in Istanbul.

Built in the early 17th century, the architectural style of the Blue Mosque was inspired by the nearby Hagia Sophia’s Byzantine elements with a touch of traditional Islamic features. The six lofty minarets standing by the mosque’s enormous base like candles symbolise the six major beliefs in Islam. Tiers of smaller blue domes surround the huge central dome. In front of the prayer hall entrance sits the massive courtyard. The prayer hall is divided into zones for prayers and visitors. While the main entrance is for worshippers, visitors enter the mosque through the side entrance during designated visiting hours. When standing in the hall under the majestic dome, you will be marvelled at the 260 stained glass windows, and almost 20,000 glazed and coloured ceramic tiles, mostly in royal blue, beautifully hand-painted with 60 different tulip patterns. When the sunlight passes through the stained glass windows, it illuminates the blue walls with colourful lights. With the warm yellow light radiating from the antique chandelier in the centre, the hall exudes a calming aura that brings peace to visitors’ souls. The red hand-woven carpet complementing the blue walls in the mosque was made from woolen textiles as a tribute by Ethiopia. Quranic quotes written in gold on blue tiles and different splendid patterns are seen all over the building, which stands as an exquisite artwork that touches our minds.