Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Blue Mosque, Istanbul

The Blue Mosque, called Sultanahmet Camii in Turkish, is a historical mosque in Istanbul. The mosque received the name Blue Mosque, due to the blue tiles surrounding the walls of interior design. It was built in the beginning of the 17th century, during the rule of Sultan Ahmet I. He wished to build an Islamic place of worship that would be even more spectacular than Hagia Sophia, located just opposite the Blue Mosque. Therefore, one can see a similar architectural style. However, if one is to compare the two buildings, it is apparent that Hagia Sophia is much larger, having small columns which support the building with a bigger dome, in contrast to the Blue Mosque, which has a smaller dome with larger columns that support the building. Nonetheless, it is a magnificent building to visit, showing the greatness and beauty of the architecture and design of the Islamic tradition.

 The mosque’s wonderfully curvaceous exterior features a cascade of domes and six minarets (more than any other mosque at the time it was built), whilst its courtyard is the biggest of all of the Ottoman mosques. The six domes is a unique feature, as most mosques have 4, 2 or even just 1 minaret. According to one account, the Sultan directed his architect to make gold (altin) minarets, which was misunderstood as six (alti) minarets. Whatever the origins of the unique feature, the six minarets caused quite a scandal, as the Haram Mosque in Mecca (the holiest Mosque in the world) also had six minarets. In the end, the sultan solved the problem by sending his architect to Mecca to add a seventh minaret. 

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