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The Blue Mosque is a prominent part of view of the Istanbul skyline. Constructed under Sultan Ahmed I, it was finished in 1616. Its designer's vision was to display the Islamic faith central to the Ottoman Empire in this massive site of worship.
Approach from the direction of the Hippodrome to best appreciate the grandeur of the architecture. There are six minarets and a number of soaring domes, making for a enormously striking spectacle.
Go through the encircling wall into the courtyard – this area is very busy after sunset during the fast of Ramadan. The madrasa Islamic school and the hospice can be found here, as can the tomb of the man for whom the mosque is named, Sultan Ahmed I, who died just one year after its completion in 1617.
The main claim to fame of the Blue Mosque is to be found in the 20,000 blue ceramic tiles adorning the interior with over 50 distinct tulip images. The upper part of the building is also painted blue, and the kaleidoscope of light provided by the stained glass windows above is a sight to behold.
Entry to the mosque is free, but donations for its upkeep are welcomed. As it is continuously in use as a religious site of worship, there are a number of practices visitors are asked to respect. Silent and discreet behaviour should be observed, with no flash photography permitted. You should remove your shoes before entering and place them in one of the plastic bags which are available. Women are asked to cover their hair with a scarf.
The mosque is served by the nearby Sultanahmet light rail and metro station in the Old City. The Blue Mosque is closed five times a day for prayer. In summer there are evening history classes on the site, and also breathtaking light shows – check the website before your visit.
Don't know how to get the most out of your time at Blue Mosque? We've put together a list of popular activities that will help you:
If you're seeking even more activities, check out our Istanbul things to do page.
Located in Sultanahmet, this spa hotel is steps away from Cemberlitas Bath and Column of Constantine. Sultanahmet Square and Hagia Sophia are also within 10 minutes. Cemberlitas Station and Sultanahmet Station are within a 5-minute walk.
Located in Sultanahmet, this romantic hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Basilica Cistern, Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque. Topkapi Palace is 0.8 mi (1.3 km) away. Cemberlitas Station is only a 5-minute walk and Sultanahmet Station is 5 minutes.
This family-friendly Istanbul hotel is located in the historical district, just steps away from Basilica Cistern and Hagia Sophia. Sultanahmet Square and Gulhane Park are also within 5 minutes. Gulhane Station is only a 4-minute walk and Sultanahmet Station is 5 minutes.
Located in Sultanahmet, this spa hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Basilica Cistern, Sultanahmet Square, and Hippodrome of Constantinople. Hagia Sophia and Cagaloglu Hamami are also within 5 minutes. Sultanahmet Station is only a 2-minute walk and Cemberlitas Station is 6 minutes.
This family-friendly Istanbul hotel is located in the historical district, within a 5-minute walk of German Fountain, Basilica Cistern and Cemberlitas Bath. Sultanahmet Square and Hippodrome of Constantinople are also within 5 minutes. Sultanahmet Station is only a 2-minute walk and Cemberlitas Station is 4 minutes.
This family-friendly Istanbul hotel is located by the ocean, within a 5-minute walk of Little Hagia Sophia and Mosaic Museum. Turkish and Islamic Art Museum and Sultanahmet Square are also within 10 minutes. Sultanahmet Station is 9 minutes by foot and Cemberlitas Station is 10 minutes.
Located in Sultanahmet, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Little Hagia Sophia, Hippodrome of Constantinople, and Sultanahmet Square. Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque are also within 10 minutes. Sultanahmet Station is 8 minutes by foot and Cemberlitas Station is 10 minutes.
Located in Sultanahmet, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Arasta Bazaar, Basilica Cistern and Topkapi Palace. Blue Mosque and Istanbul Archaeology Museum are also within 15 minutes. Istanbul Cankurtaran Station is only a 3-minute walk and Sultanahmet Station is 8 minutes.