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Sultan Ahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque)

Istanbul's imperial Mosque of Sultan Ahmet I (Sultan Ahmet Camii) is called the Blue Mosque because of its interior tiles, mostly on the upper level and difficult to see unless you're right up there with them.

Forget the blue tiles! The mosque (built 1603-17) is the masterwork of Ottoman architect Sedefkâr Mehmet Aga. It's built on the site of the Great Palace of Byzantium, on the southeastern side of the Hippodrome.

With its six minarets and a great cascade of domes, the mosque is a worthy sibling to Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia) just a few minutes' stroll to the north.

The Blue Mosque has fascinating secrets revealed in my travel memoir, Bright Sun, Strong Tea, and on the Magic of the Blue Mosque page.

This is one of Istanbul's premier sights, and you're welcome to visit at most times of day, for free (donations gratefully received).

But it's also a working mosque, so it's closed to non-worshippers for a half hour or so during the five daily prayers, and may be closed for a longer time midday on Friday, the Muslim holy day.

The way to properly appreciate the splendid architecture of the Blue Mosque is to enter it from the Hippodrome (that is, from the west) so you can appreciate the Magic of the Blue Mosque.

Enter on the south side of the mosque (to the right as you enter from the Hippodrome. If you're entering from the Ayasofya side, the tourist entrance is on the opposite side of the mosque.

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Additional Photos by Hayati KESER (hay_kes) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2041 W: 226 N: 1125] (31439)
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