Istanbul Tours: Istanbul, as one of the greatest and most ancient cities of Europe, hosts a vast number of monuments and historical sites that attract travelers from all over the world to visit the city to view this matchless mixture of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic monuments. Each of these religions has left many landmarks in Istanbul to show their greatness and the uniqueness of their art.
The Islamic architecture in particular has flourished in Istanbul Tours during the long period of the Ottoman Empire that ruled over different areas of the world influencing the structural designs in various areas and cities.
After the Ottomans conquered Istanbul Tours in 1453, the city has been transformed into a unique open air museum of wonderful Islamic art and mosques. Many of these historical mosques and monuments are still standing tall to amaze the visitors of Istanbul Tours with its high graceful minarets ornamenting the sky of Istanbul Tours
Istanbul the capital of the Islamic caliphate for more than 500 years is the finest evidence of the skills and creativity of the Islamic architecture.
If the Turkish people were proud that the land of Istanbul Tours has hosted, Hagia Sophia one of the greatest churches ever built in the world, the Ottomans of Istanbul Tours were able to challenge the brilliance and creativity of the Roman Empire by erecting magnificent mosques like the Blue Mosque, Solamenya Mosque, and Al Fateh Mosque.
The building of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque
After the death of Murad III in 1603, Sultan Ahmed I has came into power ruling over the Ottoman Empire for a short period that went from 1603 till 1617 AD.
After signing the Peace of Zsitvatorok treaty in 1606 and the unwanted result of this political action that led to many wars with The Safavid dynasty, Sultan Ahmed I has decided to build a huge mosque in Istanbul Tours and it was the first ottoman mosque to be erected in the city in forty years of time.
The previous Sultans of the Ottoman Empire used to take the money needed for building their mosques from the spoils of the wars they win. However, Sultan Ahmed, since he hasn’t any military victories to be mentioned, has taken the money to construct his mosque from the treasury of the nation.
The same as his ancestors, Sultan Ahmed decided to establish a mosque, or let say a comprehensive Islamic complex offering all sorts of civil, scientific, and social services for the inhabitants of Istanbul Tours. Sultan Ahmed tried to make his mosque a matchless piece of art competing with the magnificent Church of Hagia Sophia.
Sultan Ahmed bought a vast piece of land for the construction of his mosque. Being near the Sultan’s Palace facing the sea directly, he picked this exact location to build his wonderful mosque. Sultan Ahmed ordered Mohamed Agha, the most famous engineer of the time who was educated by Senan Pasha, the greatest builder of the Ottoman Empire, to design the new mosque.
Sultan Ahmed wanted to amplify the greatness of his new mosque. Therefore, his asked Mohamed Agha, the architecture of the mosque to construct the mosque with six high minarets. However, he faced a problem while erecting these six minarets because the only Islamic religious structure that contained six minarets at the time was the Mosque of Mecca. Therefore, he ordered his men to add a seventh minaret to Mecca and he also added a golden covering to the Kaaba.
The construction work of the Sultan Ahmed or the Blue Mosque in Istanbul Tours has started in 1609 AD and the work lasted for seven years until the mosque was opened in 1616, one year before the death of the Sultan. The mosques, after its establishment has become one of the major mosques and one of the most important Islamic centers in Turkey being a clear evidence of the cleverness of the Moslem architectures viewed from far away from the Marmara Sea and the Bosporus Strait.
The description of the mosque
The upper section of the entrance of the mosque of Sultan Ahmed hosts more than 200 small windows to allow the lights to enter the mosque. However, these days the light comes from various lamps that are hung from the ceiling.
One of the most significant characteristics of the mosque is the golden Mehrab that is decorated with gold and marble with two verses of the Quran ornamenting its top. There is also the golden marvelously decorated Minbar, or chair of the Imam, of the mosque. This minbar was designed in a way allowing all the prayers to see the Imam in all times even if the mosque is extremely crowded.
The prayer hall in the Blue Mosque is of rectangular shape that is nearly a square and it is 72 meters wide and 64 meters long and it is considered one of the largest prayer halls in the world. Three large bronze doors lead from the prayer hall to the “Sahn” of the mosque or the courtyard of the mosque, with the middle door being the widest among them, and these doors are decorated with amazing marble ornaments.
The luxuriously decorated huge dome of the mosque is located in the middle of the prayer hall with a diameter that is 33.5 meters as Sultan Ahmed wanted the dome of his mosque to be larger than this of Hagia Sophia. The dome of the mosque is lifted on four large pillars that the Turkish like to call the “legs of the elephant” with a diameter of five meters and the walls of the mosque are constructed all around them.
Surrounding the large dome of the mosque, there are four beautiful half domes that were designed to give the sense of freedom as if cruising in the air. These half domes are the best example of the architecture of the builder of the mosque, Mohamed Agha, who was able to evolve the ideas of his tutor in combining the beauty of the inner parts of the dome with the greatness and attractiveness of the outer part.
In these smaller half domes, there are marvelously decorated colored windows that are truly a piece of fabulous art. There are 260 small windows divided into five rows ornamented with the most wonderful glass works making the mosque shine like a jewel.
The lights that enter the mosque through the windows is reflected on 21043 bright ceramic tiles with more than 50 different designs including tulip, plants, and cloves designs that cover up the whole mosque from inside with its unique green and blue colors. This is why the mosque is called the blue mosque.
Another matchless feature of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul Tours is the tiles turquoise colored tiles that contain Quran inscriptions written in a shining golden color in the royal section of the prayer hall. This is besides the various ornaments that are spread all over the mosque from inside.
In the left section of the prayer hall, there is the distinctive royal court of the mosque. This section has an amazingly decorated Mihrab or niche indicating the direction of Mecca decorated with mosaic and jeweler ornaments. The door of this section is decorated with gold and pearl giving the whole scene a marvelous view pleasing the visitors.
The Sahn or open courtyard of the mosque
The mosque of Sultan Ahmed contains a large open courtyard that is surrounded with four arcanas with 26 pillars lifting them made out of pure granite with 30 small domes all around the open courtyard of the mosque.
There is an ablution section which is hexagonal in shape and lifted with six large marble columns beautifully designed as the rest of the mosque.
The famous minarets of the mosque
No visitor can ever neglect watching the six minarets of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque with four minarets at the prayer hall section and two at the Sahn of the mosque or the open courtyard of the mosque. These minarets are the finest example of the Ottoman style of minaret architecture with the famous pencil shape.
There are three small balconies or four locations for the call for prayer in the four minarets at the prayer hall section and there are only two of them in the minarets at the Sahn of the mosque.
The image of the mosque of Sultan Ahmed, which the Sultan himself has started its construction work with his own hands was put on the Turkish money from the year 1953 till the year 1967.
A whole comprehensive complex
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul Tours is not only a beautiful place for prayer, but also a whole complex that plays a major religious, social, economical, and civil role in the lives of the Turkish people and families.
There is a primary school to the side of the mosque offering education to a large sector of the society. This is besides a hospital that provides all sorts of medical and health services, a Sabil offering water, and a restaurant that provides free food for the needy. All of these structures are situated in a marvelous garden with various plants and flowers.
By KenanTekin from Pixabay