Wednesday, June 15, 2011

One of the many architectural jewels of Istanbul that continues to amaze me is the Blue Mosque.

Despite the grand size of this mosque, one feels at peace once you step inside and see the many blue Iznik tiles adorning the interior. It makes you marvel at how many men were needed to construct such as an amazing building as this one - also known at the Sultanahmet Camii.
Blue Mosque in Istanbul during the Golden Hour.
After recently spending a morning at the Topkapı Palace (Topkapı Sarayı), my in-laws and I stopped at the Blue Mosque. This historical mosque is one of the top tourist attractions in the Old City, Sultanahmet. The mosque was built between 1609 and 1616, during the rule of Ahmed I.
According to my Frommer’s guidebook, its courtyard is the biggest of all the Ottoman mosques and it has more minarets than all other Istanbul mosques. Generally, mosques have just one, two, or four minarets, but the Blue Mosque has six - a notable feature seen in the city’s skyline. According to local legend, the Sultan directed his architect to make gold (altın) minarets, which was misunderstood as six (altı) minarets.
This was my fifth visit, but I never grew tired of just staring up in awe at the Blue Mosque. Something about the architecture - the touches of color, the peacefulness as you watch Muslims pray and the grand scale - makes me ponder. 
Windows and prayers inside the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.
The mosque is divided into two sections - one for tourists and one set aside for people praying. Be respectful and wear appropriate clothing when going into the mosque. Also, women should cover their heads, so I always bring a pashmina with me.
Mary, my mother-in-law, and me inside the Blue Mosque.
The Blue Mosque is open every day, just closed during the five daily prayer times and closed for a longer time at midday on Friday, the Muslim holy day. There is no admission fee, but donations for the mosque are requested.

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5 comments:

Sheryl Sparks said...

Great pictures! You really did capture the size and scope of the prayer area. Great job!

Anne said...

I'm going to visit Blue Mosque next week, can't wait!!!
Thank you for the very useful details you gave us.
I'll give you my feed back when I return :)

Joy said...

@Anne, hope you enjoyed seeing the Blue Mosque! Istanbul will always have a favorite place in my heart! Cheers from Poland!

Anne said...

Hello Joy, this visit was indeed really impressive, the Blue Mosque was as beautiful from outside than inside!
Best wishes

Joy said...

@Anne, great to hear back from you! Sounds like you had an enjoyable trip! Hope the weather was decent for you too. :-)