The Blue Mosque, built between 1609 and 1616, is a mosque that attracts attention with its majesty in the center of Sultanahmet Square and was built at the request of the Ottoman Sultan Ahmed I.
Information about the history of the Blue Mosque
Sultanahmet Square, which was called the Hippodrome during the Byzantine Period and Horse Square during the Ottoman Period, had a Byzantine palace during the Byzantine Period and an Ottoman palace built by Sokullu Mehmet Pasha during the Ottoman Period. Ahmed I, the 14th Ottoman sultan, who ascended the Sultanate throne at the age of 14 and stayed on the throne for 14 years, had the palaces and a few wooden structures demolished when he decided to build the glorious Blue Mosque, resulting in the emergence of a large square. Ahmed I commissioned Sedefkâr Mehmed Ağa, who had previously studied as a student of Mimar Sinan and was well versed in geometry, to build the Blue Mosque on the historical peninsula. Mehmed Aga, known as Sedefkâr because of his success in wood and mother-of-pearl processing, rose to the position of chief architect and even undertook the repair works of the Kaaba.
According to Evliye Çelebi, Sultan Ahmet said his prayers and carried the soil he had filled his skirt with the workers, and thus the construction of the mosque began in 1609. Sedefkâr Mehmed Ağa is said to have modeled the plan of the mosque after the plan of the Şehzade Mosque, Mimar Sinan’s apprentice work in Fatih. The Blue Mosque, the embodiment of the ideas of majesty and splendor of the period, is not just a mosque as we see today, but a Sultanahmet Complex, which includes buildings such as the Hünkâr Pavilion, arasta, fountain, bath, madrasah, tomb, and imarethane. Unfortunately, due to wars and earthquakes, some of them have not survived to the present day like many other historical buildings. However, although Ahmed I was present for the opening of the mosque in 1616, he did not see the completion of the complex in 1617.
Features of the Blue Mosque
The prayer hall section of the mosque covers a large area of 64 x 72 meters. The central dome has a diameter of 23.5 meters and its height from the ground is 43 meters. One of the most important features of the Blue Mosque, which dominates the Marmara Sea, is its 6 minarets, which were used for the first time in a mosque. Today, there are 3 mosques with 6 minarets in Turkey, including the Muğdat Mosque in Mersin and the Sabancı Mosque in Adana. At that time, the only mosque with 6 minarets was the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, which drew great reaction. As a solution, another minaret was built in the mosque in Mecca to ensure that Masjid al-Haram maintained its title as the mosque with the most minarets.
Special attention was paid to the decorations in the Blue Mosque. The plant motif decorations made with Iznik tiles in yellow and blue tones and the elegance created by the art of tile art give the mosque a different atmosphere. We don’t use it much, but this must be the reason why the mosque is called Blue Mosque.
Where is the Blue Mosque and how to get there?
The mosque is located in Sultanahmet Square, in the center of the Historical Peninsula. It is one of the most popular sightseeing spots in Istanbul as there are many tourist attractions such as the Hagia Sophia Museum and Topkapi Palace in the vicinity. The most convenient way to reach this area is by tram. While visiting the mosque, don’t forget to pay attention to the prayer times and the way you dress.
Sultan Ahmet Tomb
On the north side of the Blue Mosque, next to the German Fountain in Sultanahmet Square, is the tomb of Ahmed I. The mausoleum was built in 1619. Along with Sultan Ahmed I, important names such as Young Osman, Murad IV, Kösem Sultan also lie here.