Istanbul E-pass includes Blue Mosque Tour with English speaking Professional Guide. For details, please check "Hours & Meeting."
Blue Mosque is closed due to interior renovations, Only outer visit
Blue Mosque Istanbul
Located in the old city's heart, it is the most famous mosque in Istanbul and Turkey. Known with the name Blue Mosque, the original name of the Mosque is Sultanahmet Mosque. The tiles design the Blue Mosque interior due to which is named a Blue Mosque. These tiles come from the most famous tile-producing city of Turkey, Iznik.
The tradition of naming the mosques in the Ottoman Era is simple. The mosques are named after giving the mosque's order and spending money for the construction. For this reason, the majority of the mosques carry the name of those people. Another tradition is that the name of the region comes from the biggest mosque in that region. For this reason, there are three Sultanahmet. One is the mosque, one is the Sultan who gave the order for the mosque, and the third is the Sultanahmet area.
What are the opening times of the Blue Mosque?
As the Blue Mosque is a functioning mosque, it is open from the morning prayer till the night prayer. Prayer times depend on the position of the sun. For that reason, opening times for prayers are changing throughout the year.
Visiting time of the mosque for visitors starts at 08:30 and opens until 16:30. Visitors can only see inside between the prayers. The visitors are asked to wear proper outfits and remove their shoes while going in. The mosque provides scarves and skirts for the ladies and plastic bags for the shoes.
There is no entrance fee or reservation for the mosque. If you are in the vicinity and there is no prayer in the mosque, you can go in and see the mosque. Guided tour of Blue Mosque is free with Istanbul E-pass.
How to get to the Blue Mosque
From the old city hotels; Take the T1 tram up to Sultanahmet tram station. The Mosque is within walking distance of the tram station.
From the Sultanahmet hotels; The Mosque is within walking distance to the majority of the hotels in the Sultanahmet area.
From the Taksim hotels; Take the funicular from Taksim Square to Kabatas. From Kabatas, take the T1 tram to Sultanahmet tram station. The Mosque is within walking distance of the tram station.
The Blue Mosque History
The Blue Mosque Istanbul is located right in front of the Hagia Sophia. For this reason, there are lots of stories about the construction of these mosques. The question comes from the need for a mosque in front of the biggest mosque back in Hagia Sophia. There are stories related to rivalry or togetherness. The Sultan ordered the mosque because he wanted to rival the sheer size of Hagia Sophia is the first idea. The second idea says the Sultan wanted to show the symbol and the Ottomans' power right in front of the biggest Roman building ever.
We will never be sure what the Sultan thought back then, but we are confident about one thing. The Mosque was constructed between the years 1609-1617. It took around 7 years to build one of the biggest mosques of Istanbul back then. This also shows the power of the Ottoman Empire back in the time. To be able to decorate the mosque, they used more than 20.000 individual Iznik tile panels. Including handmade tiles, carpets, stein glass windows and calligraphy decoration of the mosque, 7 years is quite a fast construction time.
There are more than 3,300 mosques in Istanbul. All of the mosques may seem similar, but there are 3 main groups of the Ottoman Era mosques. The Blue Mosque is a Classical Era construction. That means the mosque has a central dome with four elephant legs (central columns) and classical Ottoman decoration.
Another importance of this mosque is that this is the only mosque having six minarets. The minaret is the tower that the people were making calls to prayers in the old days. According to the myth, the Sultan Ahmed I. ordered a gold mosque, and the Architect of the Mosque misunderstood him and made a mosque with six minarets. Gold and six in the Turkish language is similar. (Gold - Altin) – (Six - Alti)
The mosque architect, Sedefkar Mehmet Aga, was an apprantice for the most prominent Ottoman Empire architect, great Architect Sinan. Sedefkar means the pearl master. The decoration of some of the cupboards inside the Mosque out of pearls is the Architect's work.
The Blue Mosque is not just a mosque but a complex. An Ottoman mosque complex should have some other additions on the side. In the 17th century, the Blue Mosque had a university (madrasah), accommodation centers for pilgrims, houses for the people working in the mosque and a marketplace. Out of these constructions, universities and the market are still visible today.
The Final Word
Whether it was made in rivalry or togetherness with Hagia Sofia, Sultan Ahmet did an outstanding service for tourists and beauty lovers by constructing this mosque. It is a beautiful place to visit for Muslim and Non-Muslim visitors due to its gripping architecture and majestic build.