Sultan Ahmed Mosque

Istanbul, Turkey

Sultan Ahmed Mosque

9.6

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul, also known by its official name, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Turkish: Sultan Ahmet Camii), is an Ottoman-era historical imperial mosque located in Istanbul, Turkey. A functioning mosque, it also attracts large numbers of tourist visitors. It was constructed between 1609 and 1616 during the rule of Ahmed I. Its Külliye contains Ahmed's tomb, a madrasah and a hospice. Hand-painted blue tiles adorn the mosque’s interior walls, and at night the mosque is bathed in blue as lights frame the mosque’s five main domes, six minarets and eight secondary domes. It sits next to the Hagia Sophia, the principal mosque of Istanbul until the Blue Mosque's construction and another popular tourist site. The Blue Mosque was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1985 under the name of "Historic Areas of Istanbul".

After the Peace of Zsitvatorok and the crushing loss in the 1603–18 war with Persia, Sultan Ahmed I decided to build a large mosque in Istanbul to reassert Ottoman power. It would be the first imperial mosque for more than forty years. While his predecessors had paid for their mosques with the spoils of war, Ahmed I procured funds from the Treasury, because he had not gained remarkable victories. The construction was started in 1609 and completed in 1616.

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