The Sultan Ahmed Mosque: Travel Details.
THE SULTAN AHMED MOSQUE.
The Sultan Ahmet Mosque combines the best of two architectural styles. It is a mixture of traditional Islamic architecture with Byzantine elements, taken from the adjacent Hagia Sophia.
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque is first one of the two mosques in Turkey that has six minarets.
At Blue Mosque lower levels and at every pier, the interior of the mosque is lined with more than 20,000 handmade ceramic tiles.
The tiles at lower levels are traditional in design, while at gallery level their design becomes flamboyant with representing flowers, fruit and cypresses.
The upper levels of the Mosque interior is dominated by blue paint. More than 200 stained glass windows with intricate designs admit natural light. On the chandeliers, ostrich eggs are found that where meant to avoid cobwebs inside the mosque by repelling spiders. The decorations including verses from the Qur'an, many of them made by Seyyid Kasim Gubari, regarded as the greatest calligrapher of his time.
The floors are covered with carpets, which is donated by faithful people and are regularly replaced as they wear out. The many spacious windows confer a spacious impression. Each exedra of the Mosque has five windows, some of which are blind.
Each semi dome has 14 windows and the central dome 28 windows(four of which are blind). The coloured glass for the windows was a gift from the Signoria of Venice to the sultan. Most of these coloured windows have been replaced by current modern versions with little or no artistic merit.
The most important element of the Mosque interior is the mihrab, which is made of finely carved and sculptured marble, with a stalactite niche and a double inscriptive panel above it. Adjacent walls are sheathed in ceramic tiles. But due to many windows around it make it look less spectacular.
The many lamps inside the Blue Mosque were once covered with gold and gems. Among the glass bowls each one could find ostrich eggs and crystal balls. All these decorations have been removed or pillaged for museums in Istanbul.
How to Visit Blue Mosque ?
Tourists always wonder how to visit Blue Mosque. There is also many other
questions such as if there is any entrance fee, dress code, where to put
my shoes etc. Here below is the answers of all these simple questions...
1. Plan your visit to the Sultan Ahmet area of Istanbul, so that you better
arrive mid morning. Pray happens five times a day with the first call
to prayer at sunrise and the last one at nightfall. The mosque closes for
90 minutes at each pray time. Avoid visiting a mosque at pray time
(Especially Midday praying on Friday) or within a half hour after the
ezan is chanted from the Mosque minarets.
2. Before step in to Mosque, take off your shoes and put in plastic bags provided
at the entrance(Free of Charge). This is required of all persons as part of
Muslim tradition when entering a mosque. There is also no charge to enter
the Blue Mosque.
3. If you are women wear a head covering when entering to Blue Mosque. Head
coverings are available at the Blue Mosque entrance for free. Place the fabric
cover on top of your head with equal portions hanging on both sides. Take one
side and wrap it around your neck, tossing it behind your back with covering your
shoulders. Don't cover your face, the covering is meant to hide your hair only.
4. When you are inside the mosque, remain quiet and don't use flash photography.
Since this is a place of worship, avoid staring or taking picture of those who are
praying. Visit the mosque respectfully and quietly. At the Mosque exit, you can
put used plastic bags in designated bin bags and return head covers to duty staff.
5. You can do donation to help maintain the Mosque at the exit door. It is not
compulsory, but if you make donation you will get the official receipt for it.
6. Worth visiting?
Completed in 1616, the Blue Mosque is still used as a house of worship, despite
also hosting some four to five million tourists annually. From the exterior featuring
six 210-foot minarets to the 20,000 blue tiles found inside, touring the mosque is
well worth it.