Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Turkey

Middle East - Editor - 28 April 2011

Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Turkey

Between the years 1453 and 1923, the city of Istanbul, in Turkey, served as the capital of the Ottoman Empire, and today the Sultan Ahmed Mosque is one of its most valued historical treasures. Ahmed I commissioned the construction of the mosque, with the building of this magnificent structure taking place from 1609 to 1616. The locals refer to the Sultan Ahmed Mosque as the Blue Mosque due to the interior walls of the building being adorned in detailed blue tiles. The mosque is still in use as a religious site today.

As with many mosques around the world, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque is home to the tomb of its founder, features a hospice and also a madrasah. But due to its immaculate beauty, fascinating architecture and breathtaking interior details, the mosque has also become a popular attraction for foreign visitors. There are only two mosques in Turkey that feature six minarets, of which the Sultan Ahmed Mosque is one of them. The architectural style of the mosque is a mixture of Ottoman and Byzantine, with the latter considered to be a traditional Islamic style used for mosques during this period. On approaching the mosque, it is easy to see that the designers and architects were focussed on giving the mosque an air of majesty and grandeur.

The forecourt of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque is roughly the same size as the mosque itself and has facades, turrets and corner domes. The ablution facility is located on either side of the forecourt, and has a fountain that finishes off the splendor of this area. As only the sultan was permitted to continue to the court on horseback, a chain was hung over the western entrance, forcing the sultan to bow as he entered the court. A staggering amount of over twenty thousand ceramic tiles, that were handmade, decorate the mosque. Even more magnificent, is the fact that the tiles have over fifty different designs. Even though the tiles have discoloured over the centuries, they are still a breathtaking sight. Stained glass windows, of which there are more than two hundred, as well as blue paint dominate the upper floors of the mosque’s interior.

Ostrich eggs were used on the chandeliers to deter spiders, and the floors are carpeted. The carpets are replaced once they have been worn out, through donations made by followers. One of the most revered features of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque is the mihrab that is sculpted and carved with great detail from marble. Most of the lamps were decorated with precious gems and gold, but these have since been removed due to their value and are displayed in museums. Ametli Kasim Gurbarim, a famous calligrapher of the seventeenth century, also left his mark on the mosque, with beautifully inscribed tablets located on the walls, which feature verses and caliphs quoted from the Quaran. The Sutlan Ahmed Mosque is an architectural masterpiece and vital historical monument in Turkey that is well worth the visit.


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