Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque anchors Istanbul’s historical peninsula next to the chief landmark Hagia Sophia.

More commonly known by locals as Sultan Ahmed, the epithet “Blue Mosque” seems to fit this Ottoman imperial mosque excellently. Turquoise blue İznik ceramics adorn its dazzling exterior. Five domes, six graceful minarets, and several layers tumbling down the main dome are only the most salient feats marking the mosque’s character. Get closer, and the artistry of its curves, archways, and 200 glazed tiles will overwhelm you. More functional details harbor subtle references to Islamic tradition.

Entrance from Sultan Ahmet Park will provide you with a hearty introduction to one of the most culturally significant sites in the city. Here, an orchestra of sounds abounds, emanating from pigeons, simit (Turkish bagel) sellers, and locals passing by. But, head to the Hippodrome for a more dramatic first glimpse of the Blue Mosque from its grand forecourt.

The religious weight of the Blue Mosque is many times more compared to Hagia Sophia. As a fully functioning and much-revered sanctuary, it has a slightly irregular agenda when it comes to touristic visits. Five times a day, the mosque closes for visitors, and worshippers meet here to perform their daily prayers. At sunset, the silvery-blue hue of its exterior becomes all the more captivating. Savor the views as the sky gets painted with the scarlet sunset characteristic of Istanbul.

Blue Mosque Gallery

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