The Blue Mosque


The Sultan Ahmed Mosque, popularly known as the Blue Mosque in the west, is the only Mosque in Turkey that had six minarets. The mosque was built between 1609 and 1616 by order of the Sultan Ahmed I, after whom it is named. When the number of minarets was revealed, the Sultan was criticised for their presumption, since this was, at that time, the same number as at the mosque of the Ka’aba in Mecca.

He overcame this problem by paying for a seventh minaret at the Mecca mosque. The Blue Mosque is located in the oldest part of Istanbul, in what was before 1453, the centre of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. The mosque was deliberately sited to face the Christian Church of the Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia) to demonstrate that Ottoman and Islamic architects and builders could rival anything their Christian predecessors have created.

However, the architect, Sedfhar Mehmet Aga, was unable to construct a bigger dome than the Hagia Sophia’s, so he instead made the mosque splendid by the perfect promotion of domes, semidome, and minarets.


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