Embark on a journey following the legacy of Istanbul's famous ruler and conqueror, Fatih Sultan Mehmet, and visit ancient treasures of Istanbul as you learn more about the its history.
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The Blue Mosque is renowned for 999 shades of blue, mesmerizing you as you try to take in the sight of 20,000 tiles decorating the interior of a majestic mosque. It also has six minarets, lifting your eyes up to heaven as you gaze at their graceful lines. When you visit, you might feel the prayers of the faithful heavy in the air… this is because the Blue Mosque is a working mosque. You cannot enter during prayer time, unless you wear long sleeves and skirt or trousers (arms and legs must be covered), and remove your footwear.
The Blue Mosque together with the Hagia Sophia could represent the historic rivalry between Islam and Christianity. If only beauty of this magnitude is always the result… Built between 1609 and 1616 by the order of Sultan Ahmet I, the Blue Mosque was meant to eclipse the grandeur of the Christian Basilica just across the Sultanahmet Square. The youthful Sultan thought that by building such a mosque, he would appease Allah, who then seemed displeased with him, judging from unfavorable outcomes of the wars with Persia and Hungary. Bu when the sultan ordered six minarets for the mosque, he caused a stir in Mecca—for only Mecca’s Kabba Mosque was considered holy enough for six minarets. The sultan refused to back down from his decision; instead he sent craftsmen to build another minaret for Kaba Mosque. This appeased Mecca. The mosque’s exterior is not blue. It came to be called the Blue Mosque because there are 20,000 tiles with 999 shades of blue decorating the interior. There are also 300 stained glass windows, letting natural light in.
How to get there
By tram: Gülhane/Sultanahmet. Walk across the square from Haghia Sophia
8.30am-12.30, 1.45-3.45, 5.30-6.30pm