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Interesting Facts About the Blue Mosque in Istanbul

Ishwari Pamu Sep 5, 2019
This exceptionally beautiful masterpiece is considered to be one of the major attractions in the city with thousands visiting it every year. With landmarks like these, it’s no wonder Istanbul is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

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Located in the Sultan Ahmed district, it sits atop a hill and is locally known as the Sultan Ahmed cami (means ‘mosque’ in Turkish).

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Sultan Ahmed I was mere 19 years of age when he commissioned the construction of this mosque as he wanted to build a place of worship that was better than the Hagia Sophia. The mosque was named after him.
The construction began in 1609 and the mosque was built on the site where the Byzantine Palace stood before. It was completed in 1617.

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The mosque was designed using a fascinating confluence of Ottoman and Byzantine style elements. It was designed by Sedefkar Mehmet Aga, a student of Mimar Sinan who was an esteemed architect in Istanbul.
20,000 blue tiles handmade in Iznik, a region known for the producing the best ceramic tiles during the Ottoman Empire, to adorn the interior of the mosque, thus giving it the unofficial name, ‘The Blue Mosque’.

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Traditionally, mosques have one, two or four minarets but the Blue Mosque has six with five main domes and eight secondary domes.

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The mosque features 260 stained glass windows which light up the entire mosque when sunlight passes through them. The stained glass was once from the 17th century but with time, they fell and were replaced with replicas.
If you look closely, the mosaics on the upper levels have floral patterns on them which are believed to be symbolic to the Earth during spring and the Garden of Paradise.

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It is believed that the Sultan had ordered the minarets to be built in gold (altın) but Sedefkar Mehmet Aga, due to insufficient funds, couldn’t, and claimed to have mishearing it for six ( altı) minarets. Hence, the mosque has six minarets.
The Haram Mosque in Mecca, the holiest mosque in the world, also had six minarets at the time which spurred great controversy; the Sultan would then send his architect to Mecca to build the seventh minaret for the Haram Mosque, as a consequence.
The mosque once included a madrasa (an educational institution), an imaret (a public soup kitchen), a market, a primary school, tombs for the royal family and a Muvakkithane, a time house for astronomers to make of calculations of the correct time of the prayers.