The Blue Mosque, in Turkish language Sultan Ahmet Camii, is jewel of Turkish-Ottoman architecture and one of the most famous monument in Istanbul, since XVI century visited by billion of people for religious or tourism motives.
Set that one time was the side of Grand Palace of Constantinople, between Racecourse and Hagia Sophia, the mosque is the result of ambitious imperial project, in part satisfied. The outside of the building bewitch for harmony and elegance of forms, the big central dome flanks by other little semi-domes drive the look of visitors to the sky.
The building started in the 1609 for wish of the Sultan Ahmed I and stranded over by the court’s architect Sedefkar Mehmet Ağa; the objectives were to pass the magnificence of Süleymaniye Camii and Ayasofya Camii (Hagia Sophia), at the time the most venerated mosques of Istanbul, and created the most important religious side of empire. Indeed it is only mosque to have six minarets, more than this there is only Ka’ba’s mosque, Mecca, which has seven minarets.
The name, Blue Mosque, comes from 21,043 ceramic tile turquoise that covered the walls, columns and arches. Illuminated by the light filtering by 260 windows the tiles from İznik (the ancient Nicaea), they give suggestive and surreal atmosphere to the mosque. The shades of colour from blue to green mix in the hot light of chandeliers that hand from high ceiling, everything seems to be magic in a timeless atmosphere. To enter the mosque every part of your body must be covered, and you must take off the shoes. The pray (namaz) is 5 times a day, you can’t visit the mosque during those times.
The organization of the construction was primly portrayed into eight volumes now available at Topkapı Palace’s library.
Photo Credits: Jiuguang Wang