The Blue Mosque in Istanbul was built between 1609 and 1917 under the orders of Sultan Ahmed I. He had it built after the Peace of Zsitvatorok to appease Allah’s anger after the defeats of his army against the Safavid Empire.
It was the first mosque to be built after forty years of inactivity. For the sultan, the intention was that the mosque would be the first of his Empire. But its construction generated great controversy. The money from the municipal coffers was used, for which a sector of the city, the ulamas, did not agree.
The mosque was built in front of the Hagia Sophia basilica, on the site of the Great Palace of Constantinople. In fact, a part of the temple rests on the foundations of said palace. The immense size of the mosque made it necessary to demolish part of the surrounding buildings.
Finally, in the year 1617 it was inauguratedalthough it was not completed during the sultanate of Ahmed I, but of Mustafa I.
Architecture of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul
1. Its construction, a union of styles
The sultan commissioned the construction to the architect Sedefkar Mehmet Ağa, right-hand man of the well-known Sinan. This was the author of the Suleiman Mosque, which is also located in Istanbul. The details of the works have been meticulously described in eight volumes that can be found in Topkapi Palace.
The mosque is a synthesis between Ottoman architecture and the architectural forms of traditional Islamic art. And furthermore, it is considered the last work of Ottoman art.
2. Dimensions and controversy with the miranetes
If the construction already created controversy due to the origin of the economic funds, so was the construction of the miranetes. We pointed out that the sultan’s intention was to build a mosque that would show the grandeur of his Empire. And for that, six miranetes were erected, which again caused controversy.
The reason is that Mecca had the same number of miranetes. To placate the doubts of the faithful, the seventh miranete was built in Mecca and thus make a difference and crown itself again at the top of the Muslim religion as the sacred temple of worship.
2. Appearance of the mosque
The Blue Mosque is made up of a succession of domes, that increase in size until they reach the great central dome. Its dimensions are enormous. The central dome is 23 meters in diameter and 43 meters high. It is approximately twice the size of the Hagia Sophia.
The interiors are lined with thousands of blue tiles and they are decorated with plant species such as tulips, flowers, fruits and cypresses. The tiles were made in the ancient city of Nicaea (now İznik) and were made by hand.
The mosque is illuminated with more than 200 stained glass windows and some chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. Its immense size and its majestic decoration leave all tourists with their mouths open.
Visiting hours and location of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul
The Blue Mosque in Istanbul is located in front of the well-known Hagia Sophia. It is in Sultanahmet Square and its entrance is free. It opens every day from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., except during prayer times, when tourism is prohibited.
Before entering it is necessary to take off your shoes and it is recommended to enter with appropriate clothing. In the case of women, due to religious customs, they must have their shoulders and hair covered. At the entrance they usually leave clothes for it.
This is the story of one of the most fantastic monuments in Istanbul, a city with centuries of history. But also you must visit the Basilica of Hagia Sophia, the Suleiman Mosque and the palaces of Topkapi, Dolmabahce and Beylerbeyi. And along with this, some neighborhoods that leave no one indifferent. Dare to visit Istanbul and its historical jewels!