At first glance, the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque) – a famous structure in Istanbul seems to be a misnomer. After all, the mosque’s exteriors are anything but blue. However, learning about the structure’s background will tell a traveler that the Blue Mosque is called such because of the blue tiles in its interiors. To fully appreciate the mosque’s beauty, one has to go inside.
Quite a famous building in the country, the Blue Mosque—also called the Sultanahmet Mosque—has gained popularity perhaps because of its six minarets. Looking around other mosques will show a traveler that most of these have only four minarets; the story behind the two extra minarets is quite interesting. It was said that when Sultan Ahmet I was only 19 years old, he commissioned the construction of the mosque. Sultan Ahmet I requested for gold (altin) minarets. However, the architect misunderstood the request, and he instead built six (alti) minarets.
The six minarets stirred concern among the people, as Mecca’s Harem Mosque also had the same number of minarets. To resolve the issue, the sultan sent his architect to Mecca to construct an additional minaret to the other mosque.
Today, the Blue Mosque gathers a battalion of visitors every year. Travelers would be in awe of the cascade of domes, which exhibit the great skills of those who built the structure. Moreover, the ceiling is lined with thousands of blue tiles.
It is said that people going to the Blue Mosque should enter from the west entrance; this is so that there is more drama in seeing the structures. By doing so, they would be able to appreciate the breathtaking details of the mosque. However, it is encouraged that non-worshippers enter from the north entrance in order to keep the sacredness of the place. As much as the mosque is a sight to behold, it is also a functioning mosque. Worshippers still use the structure for prayers.