The Sultan Ahmed Mosque is most commonly called “The Blue Mosque” because of the 20,000 handmade blue-colored tiles that decorate the interior of its dome.
It was built by Sultan Ahmed from 1609-1616 so is around 400 years old. The mosque dominates the skyline of Sultanmet. One of my books said that if Sultan Ahmed could see how many hotels advertise “Blue Mosque” views, then he would be pleased. His intention was to build a structure more magnificent than Hagia Sophia.
Tourists are allowed to go in, as long as it is not a worship time. We visited Sunday between their worship services, which occur five times daily.
They have scarfs and skirts to borrow if you aren’t dressed in accordance to the requirements for the mosque which require modest attire and no shoes. I’d dressed in a longer dress that covered my knees and had cap sleeves, based on my typical preparation for Italy. I also brought a scarf for a head wrap, hearing from friends that they are required. However, both Gabe and I had to borrow Velcro “skirts” to make sure our legs were covered.
The tile/dome was quite beautiful. However, I think Hagia Sophia was more impressive to me based on the fact it was built 1000 years before. The fact it was the first dome of its kind still wows me.
It happened to be the last night of Ramadan when we were in Istanbul. We thought Istanbul was busy before, but as night fell on Saturday indicating the end of the 30 day period of daytime fasting, the city came alive. Since 99% of the Turkish population is Muslim, literally everyone was out and about.