The Blue Mosque, also known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, is a historic and religious attraction in Istanbul, Turkey. It was built between 1609 and 1616 by Sultan Ahmed I, who wanted to create a grand mosque that would rival the Hagia Sophia, the former Byzantine cathedral that was converted into a mosque by the Ottomans. The Blue Mosque is famous for its six minarets, its five main domes and its exquisite blue tiles that cover the interior walls. The tiles feature floral and geometric patterns, as well as calligraphic inscriptions from the Quran. The mosque can accommodate up to 10,000 worshippers and is still used for prayer today.
If you want to visit the Blue Mosque, you need to buy a ticket online or at the entrance. The ticket costs 100 Turkish Lira (about 12 USD) and includes an audio guide that explains the history and architecture of the mosque.
You can also join a guided tour that lasts about an hour and costs 150 Turkish Lira (about 18 USD). The tours are available in English, Turkish, Arabic and French.
The mosque is open every day from 9 am to 5 pm, except on Fridays when it is closed for noon prayer.
There are some rules and tips you need to follow when visiting the Blue Mosque:
- You need to dress modestly and cover your shoulders, knees and head. You can borrow a scarf or a skirt at the entrance if you don’t have one.
- You need to take off your shoes and carry them in a plastic bag that is provided at the entrance.
- You need to respect the silence and avoid taking photos with flash or making loud noises inside the mosque. Fourth, you need to avoid visiting during prayer times, especially on Fridays, when the mosque is crowded with locals. You can check the prayer times online or at the entrance.
The Blue Mosque is a must-see attraction in Istanbul that offers a glimpse into the Ottoman culture and Islamic art. You can admire its stunning exterior and interior, learn about its history and significance, and experience its spiritual atmosphere. Some of the highlights of the mosque are:
- The main dome, which has a diameter of 23.5 meters and a height of 43 meters, and is supported by four massive pillars.
- The six minarets, which are unique in Istanbul and symbolize the power and authority of Sultan Ahmed I.
- The blue tiles, which number more than 20,000 and were made in Iznik, a town famous for its ceramic production.
- The mihrab, which is a niche in the wall that indicates the direction of Mecca, and is decorated with fine marble and mosaic.
- The minbar, which is a pulpit where the imam delivers his sermon, and is carved from white marble with intricate patterns.
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