The Mosque of Sultan Ahmed, famously known as The Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Cami ), stands as a crowning jewel among Ottoman mosques in Turkey. Situated in the heart of Istanbul‘s Sultanahmet area, it holds the distinction of being the only mosque in the city adorned with six minarets. Commissioned by Sultan Ahmed I, this architectural marvel took shape between 1609 and 1616 A.D., under the creative guidance of the esteemed Architect Mehmet Ağa.
Embodying the essence of Ottoman artistry, the Blue Mosque incorporates a traditional Islamic architectural design, encompassing not just a place of worship but also a mausoleum, a school (madrasa), and a hospice. The intricate plan and vision were meticulously executed to perfection, reflecting the grandeur of the era in which it was built.
Beyond its stunning beauty and massive size, the Blue Mosque in Istanbul boasts a unique feature: six minarets, unlike the more common two or four seen in other city mosques. According to a legend surrounding the mosque’s history, this distinctive choice was the result of a misunderstanding. The Sultan’s wish for “gold minarets” was allegedly heard as “six minarets” by the architect. This led to a bit of controversy, as Mecca’s Prophet’s Mosque was the only other one with six minarets at the time. To resolve this, the Sultan ordered the addition of a seventh minaret in Mecca.
When to Visit
As a functioning mosque, Sultan Ahmet Mosque welcomes visitors daily, although it observes certain restrictions. Access is restricted 45 minutes before and 15 minutes after the call to prayer, as well as during the entire morning on Fridays until 2:30 pm, the Muslim holy day.
While admission is free, the mosque gratefully accepts donations. To plan your visit effectively, consider the prayer times:
- Last entry for visitors is permitted until half an hour before closing.
- Summer closing time is 7 pm, while in winter, it’s at 5 pm.