Photographer's Note

The Blue Mosque (or Sultanahmet Camii) was constructed between 1606 and 1616 by Mehmet Aga, who had trained with Sinan, the greatest architect of the Ottoman Era. Sultan Ahmet's ambition was to create a monument that could stand up to the grandeur of Hagia Sofia, right opposite to the mosque and it seems that his effort was succesful, although the construction, technically speaking is not as "bold" and "risky" structure as Hagia Sofia was some 1.000 years before.

The blue mosque is as glorious from outside as it is from inside. Its 6 minarets make it one of a kind for Turkey. In fact it was considered rather provocative when it was constructed because the only place someone could see till then a mosque with 6 minarets was at Mecca, the holy city of the Muslims. .(The Sultan Ahmed Mosque is one of the two mosques in Turkey that has six minarets, the other is in Adana. When the number of minarets was revealed, the Sultan was criticized for presumption, since this was, at the time, the same number as at the mosque of the Ka'aba in Mecca. He overcame this problem by paying for a seventh minaret at the Mecca mosque-from WIKIPEDIA).

It's a huge mosque, and if you want to enjoy it's perfect symmetry you should see it from the Hippodrome and not from the side of Hagia Sofia. It's courtyard is equal the size of its interior and around the Mosque you can also see a Medresse (theological school), an Imaret (sort of a poorhouse) and a hamam. Looking at its exterior it doesn't look blue at all, you have to go inside, see the 260 stained glass windows and the beautiful Iznik tiles to understand, where "blue" comes from.

***Istanbul-2010 Cultural Capital of Europe***
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Copyright © 2009 – Hercules Milas
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Additional Photos by Hercules Milas (Cretense) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5327 W: 74 N: 16998] (68709)
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