Old city means Sultanahmet Neighbourhood in Istanbul. This neighbourhood had its name from the colassal mosque in the center. This Mosque built by Ottoman Sultan Ahmet I in 1616 AD therefore locals call it Sultanahmet Mosque. But this mosque had its fame from beautiful blue coloured Iznik Tiles. That is the other reason why it is called Blue Mosque.
Turkey and Istanbul are dominatly muslim. As a result of that there are more than 3thousand mosques in the city and about 700 of them were constructed by Ottomans between 1453 – 1923. Within the Ottoman Mosques, Blue Mosque became more popular.
When you come to Istanbul, the highlights of the city are located in Sultanahmet Neighbourhood. The first building that will welcome you from a distance is Blue Mosque. It is still an active mosque therefore it is not open to visitors along the day. In the morning, it starts welcoming visitors at 8:30 am the noon service. Then it is closed to the visitors for noon service and only prayers are allowed to go in. Right after the service, it is reopened till the afternoon service. Then again it is open to the visitors till 5pm or Night Service. So, you need to know about the service times a head to plan your day.
The picture above that show the Visiting Hours is just a sample for you as the Muslims prays depends on Sun , prayer times keep changing.
How to Dress Up
According to Islamic faith, Dressing Code for Man is; the body between the knees and chest should be covered. For the ladies the entire body should be covered apart from hands, feet and the face.
So, it is better to keep a long shawl or scarf in your hand bag for ladies. It will be perfect to cover your hair and shoulders. Also, gentelman should be sure that their knees are covered.
If you do not have a scarf or lets say you wear a short, do not panic. Because also, mosque lends scarfs and fabrics for legs.
History (Blue Mosque)
Blue Mosque was built between the years of 1609 – 1616. It was comissoned by Sultan Ahmet and designed by Architect – Sedefkar Mehmed Aga.
Ahmet I was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1603 until his death in 1617. Ahmed’s reign is noteworthy for marking the end of the Ottoman tradition of royal fratricide; henceforth Ottoman rulers would no longer execute their brothers upon accession to the throne. He commissioned the Blue Mosque, one of the most famous mosques in Turkey.
Architect Sedefkar Mehmed Aga was of Albanian Origin. . He became a pupil of architect Mimar Sinan, Turkey’s most celebrated architect, becoming his first assistant in charge of the office in the absence of Sinan.
From 1609 until 1616 he worked exclusively on the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, called the Blue Mosque because of the colour of its tile work.
The mosque was built on the site of the palace of the Byzantine emperors, in front of the basilica Hagia Sophia (at that time, the primary imperial mosque in Istanbul) and the hippodrome, a site of significant symbolic meaning as it dominated the city skyline from the south. Big parts of the south shore of the mosque rest on the foundations, the vaults of the old Grand Palace. Since then, it is still an active mosque.
When you get in to the garden of the mosque, 6 minarets of it will take your attention. At the time of its construction, it was the only mosque in the world that had 6 minarets. The mosque is symetrical. In the garden, water taps on the wall of Blue Mosque are for ablution.
Before go inside, you will make your way first to the inner courtyard after taking about 10 stairs. In the center of the inner courtyard, there is a fountain. It is not working anymore but when it was functional, it was cooling down the courtyard and relaxing the prayers with the voice of water. The main entrance at the inner courtyard is only for the prayers. So, as a visitor you need follow the Entrance sign for visitor. It will take you the side entrance of the mosque at the southern side.
Then you are in the mosque. Once you get in you will see its beautiful main dome supported by 4 big colossal coloums. It is 72 meters high from ground, approx 210 feet. The colossal coloums that support dome are known as Elephant Legs. They are out of solid marble. It has 4 secondary domes and 8 quarter domes.
All the domes and walls were painted with floweral patterns by hand. But also, approx 20thousand pieces of Imperial Iznik Tiles were used inside. The name of Blue was derived from the dominant colours of those of tiles. You can mainly see them by the upper gallery. Upper Galleries are mainly reserved tp the ladies during prayers.
It has 260 windows and majority of them are stain glassed colourfull windows.
How Can I visit Blue Mosque?
Ps: Blue Mosques are open to the visitor on Fridays in the afternoon, folloeing to Friday (Cuma) Service.
Impetus Travel (TURSAB Licence Number:11125) is the official tour operator for the services.
And Here is the Google Map for you;