Sultan Ahmet's great contribution to his capital was this mosque, generally known as the Blue Mosque, as its interiors were decorated with blue tiles. Built between 1609 and 1616, the mosque caused a furor all through the Muslim world when it was completed as it had six minarets, which made it indistinguishable from the Great Mosque of Mecca. To get around this, the Sultan added a seventh minaret to the mosque in Mecca. Today, the Blue Mosque remains one of the most imposing sights of Istanbul and is venerated as the national mosque of Turkey.
With striking similarities to the Hagia Sophia, Its architecture combines the styles of an Ottoman mosque and a Byzantine church. The central dome of the mosque reaches a height of 43 m and has a diameter of 23 m. Its six minarets have been placed at each corner, with two at the end of the forecourt. The minarets at the corners have three balconies, whereas the two in the forecourt have only two balconies. The interiors too are extremely lavish, elevated by its splendid use of tiles and marble carvings. The complex today includes Sultan Ahmed's tomb, along with a madrasah and a hospice. Green enclosures separate it from the Hagia Sophia, as their dueling domes stand in twin glory. Come dusk, the call to prayer echoes from its minaret, adding to the city's unique ambiance.
Behind the Blue Mosque, you will also find the Arasta Bazaar, known for its outstanding Turkish craftsmanship and brilliant keepsakes. You can also make your way here to see the Great Palace Mosaic Museum, which is tucked between the Arasta Bazaar and the mosque.