SULTAN AHMED MOSQUE (SULTANAHMET / THE BLUE MOSQUE):
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Constructed between 1609 and 1616 while Ahmed I ruled the region) or as it’s commonly known, “The Blue Mosque”, is perhaps one of the more popular destinations in Istanbul. Located in the Historic part of Istanbul it is within easy walking distance of the Grand Bazaar, The Spice Bazaar and Topkapi Palace.
We were fortunate during our visit that there were no serious queues and we were able to walk around the Mosque and surround courtyard and greenspace without much “competition” from other tourists. The “Blue Mosque” nickname comes from the amount of blue color that had been used in the Mosque’s interior decor. As you’ll see in my pictures, blue is a very prominent color in almost every shot.
The Mosque is impressive. I don’t know how else to describe it. From the outside you can tell that it is an enormous facility with impressive architecture. Something unique to this mosque are the 6 Minarets surrounding it. The Blue Mosque was the first Mosque to have 6 Minarets to surround it. Traditionally, Mosques only have 4 Minarets but when this Mosque was built, it was decided that 6 Minarets would be built. This Permission was granted only after the Grand Mosque in Mecca had added it’s additional Minaret so that the Blue Mosque would not have more Minarets. In ancient days, the Minarets were used to call the faithful to prayer and to share other important news with the surrounding areas.
The Exterior Of The Blue Mosque:
The Mosque’s Courtyard:
The interior of the Mosque was simply amazing and you can understand why it is referred to as the “Blue Mosque”. The tile design is exquisite and the Mosque is covered from floor to ceiling in these tiled designs. I think its better for me to let the photos do the talking:
Honestly, I don’t think the pictures can do the Mosque proper justice. A picture only takes a snapshot of a certain area, but to fully appreciate the beauty of this Mosque requires one to take in a panoramic view. When you stand in place and just turn 360 degrees, you get a far better perspective of just how beautiful this Mosque is. I highly recommend that no visit to Istanbul goes without at least a brief visit to take in it’s beauty.
I do have one criticism not of the Mosque itself, but of some of the visitors.
I do have to admit that I slightly disappointed with my visit to the Mosque. Though it is an important religious home for those of the Islam faith, I couldn’t help but feel that the Blue Mosque has been transformed more into a tourist stop and less as a house of worship. Granted we were there when prayers were not called and it was not a Holiday but part of my feeling stems from the disrespect that many visitors had shown.
When entering the mosque, women were given a large blue piece of fabric and asked cover exposed skin or hair. I noticed in far too many instances that once a woman entered the Mosque, the blue cover was disbanded and they continued to tour the Mosque in their shorts and tank tops. Men were not innocent either. Men who wore shorts were asked to use the blue cloth to cover their legs, and again once inside the Mosque, the blue sheets came off.
As visitors, we’re asked to abide by simple rules and yet some are challenged to abide by them. Cellphones were in heavy (even though signs asked them to be turned off) use inside the Mosque and we could hear many “critically important conversations” while trying to appreciate a holy place. An unsolicited piece of advice: If you visit a holy place, whether a Church, Mosque or Synagogue, please respect where you are and follow the proper protocol and show the respect these places deserve.
This is only part of a much larger trip report covering the trip to Istanbul and London. If you would like to be informed of future trip reports, please follow me on twitter: @lufthansaflyer.
Here is the current “index” of the trip report. The one’s with hyperlinks have already been completed:
Istanbul – Sultan Ahmed (Sultanahmet) Mosque.
Istanbul – The Basilica Cistern.
Istanbul – Spice Market and Grand Bazaar.
Istanbul – Park Hyatt Macka Palas.
Istanbul – Our Day with Ihsan (besttaxidriver.com).
Istanbul – Hagia Sophia.
Istanbul – Other Mosques and Churches.
Istanbul – I find out what Zultanite is….
Istanbul – The Food We Found.
Istanbul – Turkish Airlines’ International CIP Lounge.
London – Hyatt Andaz Liverpool Street.
London – Opening of Parliament – Great pictures of the Queen and procession to Parliament.
London – ‘The Sunshine Boys’ at the Savoy Theater (Danny DeVito and Richard Griffiths)…..BRILLIANT, MUST SEE!
London – Spitalfield’s Antique Market – And the lesson I learned.
London – Churchill War Rooms and Churchill Museum.
London – Photos from around town.
London – Dinner at Petrus
London – St. James Park: Feathers and Fur
London – Covent Gardens.
London – All the other things that I can’t think of at the moment….
Pluckley – They said it was haunted……