Blue Mosque

This imperial mosque is an unparalleled example of classical Ottoman architecture, and it is the only mosque built with six minarets. Although it is popularly known as the Blue Mosque, its real name is Sultan Ahmet Mosque. Befitting his original profession, the architect Mehmet Aga decorated the interior fastidiously like a jeweller. Built between 1609-1616, the mosque used to be part of a larger complex, including a covered bazaar, Turkish baths, public kitchens, a hospital, schools, a caravanserai, and the mausoleum of Sultan Ahmet. Some of these buildings have not survived to our day. The architect was a student of Architect Sinan, the greatest architect of classical Ottoman architecture. He adapted a plan used previously by his master, but on a larger scale. There are three entrances to the mosque interior. The rich and colourful atmosphere created inside by the paintings, tiles and stained glass panes complements the detailed, magnificent exterior. The interior has a centralized plan; the main and side domes rise on four large columns that support broad and pointed arches. The walls of the galleries surrounding the three sides of the interior chamber are decorated by over 20,000 exquisite Iznik tiles. The areas above the tiles and the inside of the domes are decorated with painted designs.