Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey
Blue Mosque History, Architecture, Dress Code and Opening Hours
Imperial Blue Mosque is one of the top three tourist attractions in Istanbul. Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and Blue Mosque are considered as the major pillars of Istanbul’s Old Town.
Blue Interior Design With Tiles
There is no clue from outside about why people call this place as Blue Mosque. Visitors can understand why this name is given to the mosque, only if they visit the inside of the mosque. Blue is obviously the most dominant colour of the interior decoration of the building.
Although foreign visitors know the mosque as the Blue Mosque, this is not the real name. The mosque, which was built by Sultan Ahmed, started to be called as the Sultanahmet Mosque in time and gave its name to the neighborhood.
Blue Mosque History and Architecture
The mosque was built in 7 years between 1609 and 1616. It is noted that 7000 people worked in the construction of the mosque. Blue Mosque is considered as the masterwork of Ottoman architect Sedefkar Mehmet Aga. He comes from the school of Mimar Sinan, the most important architect of the Ottoman history. The Blue Mosque was built on the site of the Great Palace of Byzantine emperors.
Sultan Ahmed, lived only 28 years and reigned for 14 years. He could not see the completion of his mosque before he died. The Blue Mosque stands out with its enormous dimensions and six minarets. Ottoman imperial mosques generally have two or four minarets. The Blue Mosque is an exception among the Ottoman mosques.
Interior of the Blue Mosque
Ottoman Mosques and Hagia Sophia
Before the Turks settled in Istanbul, they used a different architectural style in the construction of a mosque. The mosques had square architecture and had multiple domes. After taking Istanbul, they were impressed by the single-domed plan of Hagia Sophia.
It’s obvious that the Ottoman architects were impressed by the wisdom and beauty of Hagia Sophia. Sinan, the most famous architect of Ottoman history, declared that he spent his life to overcome the architectural superiority of Hagia Sophia. He stated that he had achieved this aim at the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne. (Edirne is a city in the north west Turkey)
Architecture of the Blue Mosque
Blue Mosque Opening Hours
The opening and closing times of the Blue Mosque are updated every day. Prayer times are very different in summer and winter. For this reason, you should adjust the timing of your visit to the Blue Mosque. The chart showing the opening hours of the Blue Mosque is attached to all entrances.
Visiting Hours for the Blue Mosque
How to Check Blue Mosque Prayer Times?
If you type “Istanbul Ezan Saatleri” on the Google, you can see current prayer times for Istanbul. When you look at the image below, you will see how the prayer times are displayed on the website. For example “Öğle” means noon.
The Blue Mosque will close about an hour before the prayer time reported here (around 12:00) . Approximately half an hour after the prayer time will be opened again. (around 13:30). This is the best way to check the latest opening hours of the Blue Mosque.
This is the link to check current praying hours for Istanbul.
Online Prayer Times for Istanbul, Turkey
The Mosque is Closed for Friday Prayers!!!
Blue Mosque is closed for half a day on Fridays. There is the congregational prayer take place on Friday early afternoon. Therefore they clean up the mosque and make preparations for the Cuma Prayer. The Blue Mosque is closed from morning to 14:30 (2:30 pm) on Fridays.
What to Wear when Visiting the Blue Mosque
There is a strict dress code for the Blue Mosque. Women have to wear headscarf and use it for covering the hair and shoulders. It’s better to bring a headscarf of yours, but if you don’t have it no problem! They provide a scarf to use during your mosque visit.
There is a little kiosk places in the courtyard, they provide you the scarf to wear. You might have to borrow a skirt to cover your legs in case you wear shorts or tight jeans.
Dress As You Feel Comfortable!
I recommend you to dress as you will feel comfortable in Istanbul. In the high tourist season which is Spring and Summer, the weather could be too hot. Visiting the Blue Mosque would be easy with provided headscarfs and skirts. You will need them only for 20 minutes.
Dress Code to Enter the Blue Mosque
How to enter the Mosque faster?
Cruise groups mostly cause long lines in the Blue Mosque. They visit the mosque as the first thing in the morning from 09:00 am to 10:00 am. So that you can skip the Blue Mosque and do something else in the meantime. Otherwise you would have to wait in the lines for at least 30 minutes.
You can come back right before the midday prayer and have enough time to visit. Best timeframe to visit the Blue Mosque is from 10:30 to 12:00.
Is there an Entrance Fee for Blue Mosque?
There is no admission fee required for Blue Mosque. Neither for other operating mosques in Istanbul. Entering the functional mosques free in Istanbul. No matter if you are local or stranger.
Blue Mosque Monumental Gate
Other Mosques to Visit in Istanbul
After you Blue Mosque visit, I strongly recommend you to visit also Suleymaniye Mosque. These two mosques are the main pillars of Ottoman Classical Architecture. Suleymaniye Mosque is built by Suleiman the Magnificent at the peak of the Ottoman Empire.
Written by Serhat Engul