imperial Mosque of Sultan Ahmet
I (Sultan Ahmet Camii), facing the Hippodrome in the center of Old Istanbul (map), is one of the top sights in this historic city.
Called the Blue Mosque by foreign visitors because
of its interior tiles,
it disappoints if you're looking for lots of blue because the blue tiles are mostly on the inaccessible upper floors. Otherwise, the mosque is among the finest examples of Istanbul's wonderful imperial Ottoman mosques.
(built 1603-17) is the masterwork
of Ottoman architect Sedefkâr
Mehmet Ağa. It's built
on the site of the Great Palace of Byzantium,
on the southeastern side of the Hippodrome (map).
its six minarets and
a great cascade of domes, the mosque
is a worthy sibling to Ayasofya (Hagia
Sophia) just a few minutes' stroll
to the north. More...
Mosque has fascinating
on my Magic
of the Blue Mosque page.
Because of the intense crowds, and the fact that the Sultan Ahmet is a working mosque, you must plan your visit carefully. It's closed to non-worshippers for 45 minutes before the call to prayer, 30 minutes afterwards, and all morning on Friday (until 14:30/2:30pm) , the Muslim holy
day. Admission is free; donations gratefully accepted.
are the prayer times so you can plan your visit.
Splendid as the Sultan Ahmet I Mosque is, it's really no more splendid than several of the other great imperial mosques of Istanbul. If you can't stand crowds, you could substitute any of the other great imperial mosques and have a similar, but less hectic, less crowded and longer visit. More...
way to properly appreciate the splendid
architecture of the Blue
Mosque is to approach it from the Hippodrome (that
is, from the west) so you can appreciate
of the Blue Mosque.
you are a non-Muslim visitor, you
by the door on the south side of
the mosque (to the right as you enter
from the Hippodrome. If you're entering
from the Ayasofya side,
the tourist entrance is on the opposite
side of the mosque.)
lots more photos of the Blue Mosque,
see the TTP
Photo Galleries of Istanbul and Istanbul