The Blue Mosque

Sultan Ahmet Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque, is an Ottoman-era imperial mosque located in Istanbul. It is called the Blue Mosque because its interior walls are adorned with hand-painted blue tiles, and at night the mosque is bathed in blue as lights frame its five main domes, six minarets and eight secondary domes. Constructed between 1609 and 1616 during the rule of Sultan Ahmet I, the mosque contains Ahmet’s tomb, a madrasah, and a hospice. In deference to the Sultan, the square on which the Blue Mosque is located is known as Sultanahmet.

The Blue Mosque is considered to be the last great mosque of the classical period. Its design, the culmination of two centuries of Ottoman architectural evolution, incorporates many Byzantine elements of the neighboring Hagia Sophia with traditional Islamic architecture. The forecourt of the mosque has a large fountain and a special area for ablution. Inside, the lower stories are illuminated by 200 stained glass windows, while the upper area is decorated with nearly 20,000 hand-painted glazed ceramics in 60 different tulip patterns. The mosque was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.


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