Blue Mosque, Istanbul

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The Blue Mosque was commissioned by Sultan Ahmed I when he was only 19 years old. It was built near the Hagia Sophia. The mosque was designed by architect Mehmet Aga, whose unfortunate predecessor was found wanting and executed. Sultan Ahmed was so anxious for his magnificent creation to be completed that he often assisted in the work. Sadly, he died just a year after the completion of his masterpiece, at the age of 27. He is buried outside the mosque with his wife and three sons.

The interior of the mosque is very good and attractive. One of the most notable features of the Blue Mosque is visible from far away: its six minarets. This is very unique, as most mosques have four, two, or just one minaret. The other striking feature of the exterior is the beautifully-arranged cascade of domes that seem to spill down from the great central dome. The arcades running beneath each dome add further visual rhythm. None of the exterior is blue - the name "Blue Mosque" comes from the blue tiles inside.

The main west entrance is beautifully decorated and very much worth a look. However, to preserve the mosque's sanctity, non-worshipers are required to use the north entrance.

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