Friday, January 7, 2011

Exploring Istanbul: The Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Mosque)

Summer 2008

The cascading domes and six slender minarets of the Sultanahmet Mosque ( the Blue Mosque) dominate the skyline of  Istanbul.

In the 17th century, Sultan Ahmet I wished to build an Islamic place of worship to rival the Ayasofya, and the mosque named for him is the impressive result. The two great architectural achievements stand next to each other in Istanbul's main square
The Blue Mosque was commissioned by Sultan Ahmet I as a rival to Hagia Sophia and designed by architect Mehmet Aga (Aga's unfortunate predecessor was fired - i.e., executed).

Construction on the mosque began in 1609 and took seven years. Sultan Ahmet died only a year after the completion of his masterpiece, at the age of 27. He is buried just outside the mosque with his wife and three sons.

Whatever the origins of the unique feature, the six minarets caused quite a scandal, as the mosque in Mecca also had six minarets. The problem was solved by adding a seventh minaret to Mecca's mosque.

The interior's high ceiling is lined with about 20,000 blue tiles that give the mosque its popular name. Fine examples of 16th-century Iznik design, the tiles feature flowers, trees and abstract patterns.
the mosque is still in use and tourist can visit daily for free.

Picture Taken December 2010 (Winter) 

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