Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Blue Mosque

The cascading domes and six slender minarets of the Sultanahmet Mosque (better known as the "Blue Mosque") dominate the skyline of Istanbul. In the 17th century, Sultan Ahmet I wished to build an Islamic place of worship that would be even better than the Hagia Sophia, and the mosque named for him is the result.

The two great architectural achievements now stand next to each other in Istanbul's main square, and it is up to visitors to decide which is more impressive personally my choice is the Hagia Sophia due to the fact it's 1500 years old although the Blue Mosque is beautiful.
One of the most notable features of the Blue Mosque is visible from far away: its six minarets. This is very unique, as most mosques have four, two, or just one minaret. According to one account, the Sultan directed his architect to make gold (altin) minarets, which was misunderstood as six (alti) minarets.

Whatever the origins of the unique feature, the six minarets caused quite a scandal, as the Haram Mosque in Mecca (the holiest in the world) also had six minarets. In the end, the sultan solved the problem by sending his architect to Mecca to add a seventh minaret.
The other striking feature of the exterior is the beautifully-arranged cascade of domes that seem to spill down from the great central dome. The arcades running beneath each dome add further visual rhythm. None of the exterior is blue - the name "Blue Mosque" comes from the blue tiles inside.
The guide also told me that everything is based on the No 16 as Sultan Ahmet was the 16th Sultan.

The Blue Mosque was commissioned by Sultan Ahmet I when he was only 19 years old. It was built near the Hagia Sophia, over the site of the ancient hippodrome and Byzantine imperial palace construction work began in 1609 and took seven years.

The mosque was designed by architect Mehmet Aga, whose unfortunate predecessor was found wanting and executed. Sultan Ahmet died just a year after the completion of his masterpiece, at the age of 27. He is buried outside the mosque with his wife and three sons.

Night view from my hotel

The Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey

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Just passing through and enjoying life. I use this blog to keep hold of my thoughts & opinions. In general anything that interest me.