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Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii)

Well, Blue Mosque is what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, the Statue of Liberty is to New York and the Taj Mahal is to India indeed. If you come to Istanbul for sightseeing with your family or friends to your partner, you should definitely visit this beauty. You can see this place listed by top travel websites, blogs and magazines and I am gonna tell you why it is one of the top attractions of the city.

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque was built from 1609-1616 during the rule of Ahmed I after he decided to build a big mosque to show Ottoman Empire’s power to the rest of the world. It is located in the Old City (Sultanahmet area), in face of the Hagia Sophia and designed by the famous architect, Sedefkar Mehmed Aga, who was a pupil of the great Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan. We call it “Blue Mosque” in English because of its walls are covered with more than 20.000 wonderful Iznik (the ancient Nicaea) tiles.

Mosque’s popularity comes from it is the first mosque with 6 minarets. However, after the mosque’s building, The Sultan was criticised for being arrogant, by reason of this was the same minarets number as at the mosque of the Ka’aba in Mecca, he solved this misunderstanding by ordering a minaret to be built at the Mecca.

It is the biggest of all of the Ottoman mosques and has one main dome, six minarets, and eight secondary domes. I think  the cascading domes and six minarets make this a stunning building from the outside. The Mosque has a jaw-dropping courtyard from the outside and marvellous tiles from the inside which were made under the supervision of the Iznik master. Thousands upon thousands of colourful ceramic tiles in more than 50 different tulip designs create the stunning kaleidoscope of patterns inside the Blue Mosque. Light inside the mosque provided by the great high chandeliers what it feels like you are a tiny spot.

Additionally, Pope Benedict XVI visited the Mosque on November 2006 during his visit to Turkey. It is important because he is the second papa visit in history to a Muslim place.

It is a working mosque so during prayer times, visitors are not allowed inside. Women do need to cover their heads with a scarf before entering, and all sexes need to wear long pants. After prayer timings as the tourists get to have more time to look around and discover. It is better to visit this place after 2:30pm on Friday because of the Friday Prayday. The best time to visit the mosque on any day is from 09.00 to 12.00.

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