There are mosques everywhere in Istanbul and Turkey that Ottoman sultans commissioned. Sultans made themselves famous through mosques. The protocol was strict, though. Initially, a sultan had to pay for the mosque, not the treasury. In addition, he had to win a war against non-believers.
Murad III and Selim II mosques don’t exist because they didn’t fight battles or have spoils of war to build them. Here’s where the Blue Mosque got messy. When Sultan Ahmed I was Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, he wanted to build a mosque in Istanbul. As a 13-year-old, he took over the throne. As well as strife, the Ottomans lost land to the Persians.
The construction was controversial, but Ahmed I focused on his legacy, not his current affairs. So they started building it in 1609. There were a couple of stipulations, though. There has to be a better Istanbul Mosque than Hagia Sophia or Suleymaniye. His goal was to build the biggest mosque in the Ottoman Empire.
Blue Mosque’s architect
Sultan Ahmet picked Sedefkar Mehmed Aga to build the palace. He studied music as a kid but switched to architecture. During his apprenticeship at the Ottoman royal residence, he worked under Mimar Sinan.
Sedefkar Mehmed Aga learned a lot from Mimar Sinan, a designer known throughout history and the Ottoman empire. As the Ottoman empire’s official architect, Sedefkar Mehmed Aga took over in 1599. The Sultan Ahmet Mosque in Istanbul is his legacy, although he couldn’t match Mimar Sinan’s influence.
The construction of the Blue Mosque
Sultan Ahmed told Mehmet Agha to build a bigger and better mosque, so he followed imperial Ottoman Mosque architecture, but he designed one with eight secondary domes. It was the pencil-shaped minarets that caused problems. One mosque has six minarets, and that’s Mecca Mosque. Do you think Ahmed was trying to match Mecca?
It was just a misunderstanding. Ahmed meant gold minarets, while his architect heard “six minarets.” He ordered a seventh minaret for the Mecca Mosque so that he could keep his six. A total of six slender and soaring minarets flank the corners and courtyard of the Blue Mosque today.
Another key feature is the courtyard, where the imperial entrance hangs from a chain. Riding through on horseback forced Ottoman sultans to lower their heads. Here’s another reminder that Allah is bigger than anyone else.
Everyone can hear the Imam in the mosque’s prayer hall, despite its size. The royal kiosk where the Ottoman sultans viewed the prayer hall is supported by ten marble columns in the southeast corner. In building the Ottoman royal residence, Mehmed Agha followed his master’s advice that everything should be big and grand, and he didn’t fail.
What’s the height of the central dome in the Blue Mosque?
Seventy-three metres wide and 43 metres high, the Blue Mosque’s central dome is huge. Besides the central dome, the corner domes have 14 stained glass windows.
Blue Mosque dome is stunningly beautiful and a landmark of Istanbul. It was designed to outshine Hagia Sophia’s dome, once the most iconic dome in the world.
Take a tour of another imperial mosque in Istanbul.
Even though Suleymaniye Mosque’s Ottoman architecture isn’t as famous as Blue Mosque’s, its importance still can’t be underestimated. In this mosque are the tombs of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent and his wife Hurrem, one of the most powerful women in the imperial city and empire.
The Yeni Valide Mosque in the Eminonu district of Istanbul is most recognizable for the square outside and the steps leading up to the entrance.
Combining your visit to this mosque with a visit to the Egyptian bazaar is a great idea.
There are a lot of magnificent Ottoman mosques to see in Istanbul, including Mihrimah Sultan, Sultan Beyazit, Fatih Mosque of the Conqueror, and Grand Mecidiye in Ortakoy.
Despite the Blue Mosque’s importance as a symbol of the former imperial city of Istanbul, there are many other historical sites near the Blue Mosque. While you can see them in a single day, we recommend you take two days to enjoy them. A short distance away from the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque is the Topkapi palace, the Ottoman Empire’s first capital and ruling centre.
In addition to the Grand Bazaar, which contains royal places of worship and shopping marvels, Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar is another iconic Ottoman landmark that survives today. The maze of alleys and shop fronts that make up Turkey’s largest shopping district is a delight to explore and browse for souvenirs while in Istanbul.
There are hundreds of famous buildings in Istanbul, each with its unique architectural style, religious significance, or cultural significance. From the European side to the Asian side, some places appear on picture postcards while others are off the beaten track. Whatever the case, they are all ideal additions to a trip to Istanbul after seeing the Blue Mosque.
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