Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii)
Blue Mosque © Dennis Jarvis
Commonly known as the Blue Mosque, the Sultan Ahmet Camii is one of the most striking structures on the Istanbul skyline. Constructed as an Islamic rival to the Hagia Sophia in 1609, its tiers of magnificent domes and six graceful minarets are immediately distinguishable. It is one of the finest examples of Ottoman architecture and is still used by hundreds of worshippers. The interior is splendidly decorated with thousands of blue and white Iznik tiles embellished with traditional Ottoman flower patterns, and it is this special feature that gives the mosque its name. Its design of successively descending smaller domes, soaring columns, and 260 stained glass windows leaves a lasting impression of graceful accord and open space. At the back of the mosque is a Carpet and Kilim Museum exhibiting antiques from all over Turkey.
Address: Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, AtmeydanÄ± Cd. No:7, Fatih/Ä°stanbul, Turkey.
Telephone: +90 212 458 44 68
Transport: Disembark at the Sultanahmet tram stop.
Opening times: Open daily, access restricted during prayer times, especially at midday on Fridays. The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday between 9am and 4pm.
Admission: There is no charge for visiting the mosque, but the museum has a small entrance fee.