Blue Mosque or Sultan Ahmed Mosque
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Turkish: Sultanahmet Camii) is an historical mosque in Istanbul. The mosque is popularly known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior.
It was built from 1609 to 1616, during the rule of Ahmed I. Like many other mosques, it also comprises a tomb of the founder, a madrasah and a hospice. While still used as a mosque, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque has also become a popular tourist attraction.
The design of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque is the culmination of two centuries of both Ottoman mosque and Byzantine church development. It incorporates some Byzantine elements of the neighboring Hagia Sophia with traditional Islamic architecture and is considered to be the last great mosque of the classical period. The architect has ably synthesized the ideas of his master Sinan, aiming for overwhelming size, majesty and splendour. It has 6 minarets along with 8 domes and 1 main one.
Pope Benedict XVI visited the Sultan Ahmed Mosque on 30 November 2006 during his visit to Turkey. It marks only the second papal visit in history to a Muslim place of worship. Having removed his shoes, the Pope paused for a full two minutes, eyes closed in silent meditation, standing side by side with Mustafa Cagrıcı, the Mufti of Istanbul, and Emrullah Hatipoğlu, the Imam of the Blue Mosque.
The pope “thanked divine Providence for this” and said, “May all believers identify themselves with the one God and bear witness to true brotherhood.” The pontiff noted that Turkey “will be a bridge of friendship and collaboration between East and West”, and he thanked the Turkish people “for the cordiality and sympathy” they showed him throughout his stay, saying, “he felt loved and understood.
How To Visit Blue Mosque ?
Tourists always wonder how to visit Blue Mosque.There is also many other questions such as if there is any entrance fee,dress code, where to put my shoes etc.Here below is the answers of all these simple questions...
1) Plan your visit to the Sultanahmet area of Istanbul, so that you better arrive mid morning. Pray happens five times a day with the first call to prayer at sunrise and the last one at nightfall.The mosque closes for 90 minutes at each pray time.Avoid visiting a mosque at pray time (Especially Midday praying on Friday) or within a half hour after the ezan is chanted from the Mosque minarets.
2) Before step in to Mosque, take off your shoes and put in plastic bags provided at the entrance(Free of Charge). This is required of all persons as part of Muslim tradition when entering a mosque. There is also no charge to enter the Blue Mosque.
3) If you are women wear a head covering when entering to Blue Mosque.Head coverings are available at the Blue Mosque entrance for free. Place the fabric cover on top of your head with equal portions hanging on both sides. Take one side and wrap it around your neck, tossing it behind your back with covering your shoulders. Don't cover your face, the covering is meant to hide your hair only.
4) When you are inside the mosque, remain quiet and don't use flash photography.Since this is a place of worship, avoid staring or taking picture of those who are praying.Visit the mosque respectfully and quietly.At the Mosque exit, you can put used plastic bags in designated bin bags and return head covers to duty staff.
5) You can do donation to help maintain the Mosque at the exit door.It is not compulsory, but if you make donation you will get the official receipt for it.
Best way to see great architecture of the Blue Mosque is to approach it from the Hippodrome. (West side of the mosque) As if you are non-Muslim visitor, you also have to use same direction to enter the Mosque.