Blue Mosque Istanbul Overview

Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an important symbol of Istanbul, Blue Mosque Istanbul Turkey is a historical mosque that ornaments the city’s stunning skyline. In addition to being a famous tourist spot, it is also an active mosque that welcomes Muslims from all over the world. The mosque was initially known as Sultanahmet Mosque, after Sultan Ahmed who initiated the construction of this glorious monument that was built between 1909 and 1916.The Blue Mosque boasts of an imperial exterior with a large courtyard surrounded by vaulted arcades. The interior is even more palatial and sports elegant blue ceramic tiles that adorn the walls of the mosque. The chandeliers and natural light reflect the blue paint on the dome thus camouflaging the entire area in blue. The main highlight of visiting the Blue Mosque Istanbul is witnessing its six minarets which is a significant feature of the mosque.

Blue Mosque Istanbul Tours

Blue Mosque Istanbul
Full Day: Classic Istanbul Tour Including Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace

This full day tour around Istanbul is the best of all the Blue Mosque Istanbul Tours for you to see all the major landmarks of the city. The tour includes admission tickets as well as skip-the-line access to all the spots. The trip starts at Hippodrome Square followed by a visit to the majestic Blue Mosque. You will also be taken to the Topkapi Palace and then to Hagia Sophia.

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Blue Mosque Istanbul
Istanbul Tour with Topkapı Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar

Book this exciting Istanbul tour for a quick tour around the imperative sightseeing spots of the city. You will be picked up from your hotel to visit Hagia Sophia followed by the Topkapi Palace. Then proceed to the Blue Mosque and admire its regal interiors and inspiring history. Continue to the Grand Bazaar packed with 4000 shops where you can purchase authentic Turkish handicrafts.

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Blue Mosque Istanbul
Blue Mosque and Sultanahmet Tour

Go on an exhilarating journey to the historically significant Blue Mosque and the surrounding Sultanahmet Square with our best of all Blue Mosque Istanbul Tours. You can explore the architecture, exteriors and interiors of the mosque at leisure and witness the Byzantine and Ottoman relics. You can stroll through the courtyard and stay inside the mosque for however long you want.

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Blue Mosque Istanbul
Private Tour: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour including Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace

Book our private day tour along with an English speaking-guide to the Sultanahmet district of Istanbul to visit all the finest attractions in the city. You will be taken to the Blue Mosque where you can learn all about Islamic traditions and the remarkable history behind the monument. Then proceed to Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace before returning to your hotel.

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Blue Mosque Istanbul
Morning Istanbul: Half-Day Tour with Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Hippodrome and Grand Bazaar

Our half-day morning tour around Istanbul covers all the significant sightseeing spots of the city. Visit the famous Sultanahmet Mosque and witness the bright blue tiles that give the mosque its name Blue Mosque. You will then be taken to Hagia Sophia and Hippodrome where you can spot historic remnants. Stop by Grand Bazaar to shop souvenirs and Turkish artworks.

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Blue Mosque Istanbul
Bosphorus Cruise with Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Topkapı Palace

Indulge in a unique trip to Istanbul with our Bosphorus Cruise tour along with major landmarks of Sultanahmet neighbourhood. Visit the architectural wonders of the city like Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace. Then go on a 90 minute cruise on Bosphorus Strait and catch a glimpse of Istanbul from the sea.

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History of Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque, an iconic landmark of Istanbul that dominates the city’s skyline, has an impressive history behind its founding. The construction of the Blue Mosque Istanbul Turkey was commissioned by Sultan Ahmed I, who ascended the throne in 1603 when he was 13 years old. After fifteen years of war between the Ottoman Empire and Habsburg Monarchy, the Sultan realized that the trust of people in the Empire was diminishing. So, he ordered the building of this huge and spectacular Blue Mosque to proclaim his authority and power. However, he had to use the state treasury to fund this expensive project as he won nothing in the war. While looking for an appropriate place to build the mosque, Sultan Ahmed chose the Ayşe Sultan Palace which was near the hippodrome overlooking the sea and bought this palace by paying 30 loads of pure gold dinar. He then sent for the chief architect of the palace, Mehmet Ağa, to draw a marvelous plan for the mosque to compete with the architecture of Hagia Sophia and Suleymaniye Mosque. The Blue Mosque was supposed to have five main domes, eight secondary domes and six minarets. It is believed that the Sultan told the architect “altın minareler”, meaning gold minarets in Turkish. But the architect misinterpreted it as “altı minareler” and thought six minarets were to be built. When the number of minarets was revealed, the Sultan was ridiculed as the holy mosque in Mecca was the only one to have six minarets. The construction of the mosque went on for 7 years from 1609 to 1616 and on June 2, 1616, a grand opening ceremony was held to inaugurate the Sultanahmet Mosque. Owing to the charming interiors of the mosque decorated with blue tiles and blue paint, it is commonly known as the Blue Mosque.

Architecture of Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque Istanbul

Marvel at the majestic architecture while visiting Blue Mosque Istanbul to explore the details of Ottoman style architecture. The mosque was built by architect Sedefkâr Mehmed Ağa, who brought together the ideas of his master Sinan, and aimed at constructing a monument of gigantic size, splendour and grandeur. The mosque is a blend of the traditional Islamic architectural design and some Byzantine Christian elements of the neighbouring Hagia Sophia mosque. The Blue Mosque features five main domes, six flute-like minarets and eight secondary domes.

Blue Mosque Istanbul

Istanbul Blue Mosque interior is embellished with elegant handmade blue ceramic tiles of Iznik style. The tiles at the lower levels feature traditional designs while those at the gallery level feature beautiful designs of flowers, fruits and cypresses. The dome and upper levels of the interior sport 200 blue stained glass windows with intricate designs. The walls are decorated with verses from the Quran and the floors are covered with rich carpets donated by the faithful. The highlight of the mosque interiors is the mihrab which is made up of finely sculptured marble.

Blue Mosque Istanbul

Witness the splendid courtyard of the Blue Mosque that is as large as the mosque itself. You can see the spacious facade with turrets on the corner domes and a series of vaulted arcades surrounding the courtyard as you enter the mosque. A small hexagonal fountain in the centre of the forecourt prettifies the exterior of the mosque while ablution facilities are available on the sides. A huge iron chain hangs in the upper side of the entrance which signals the sultan to lower his head while entering the mosque on a horse. This was done as a gesture to pay his respect to the divine.

Blue Mosque Istanbul

The Blue Mosque Istanbul Turkey is the first mosque in Turkey to house six pencil-shaped minarets similar to those in the mosque of Mecca. You can see four minarets standing at a height of 107.1 metres on the corners of the mosque, each of which has three balconies. Two minarets at the ends of the front courtyard have only two balconies. In the olden days, the prayer caller used to climb a narrow spiral staircase in the minaret to announce the prayer call.

Amazing facts about Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque Istanbul
  • Istanbul’s Blue Mosque is originally known as Sultanahmet Mosque as it is named after Sultan Ahmed I, who initiated the construction of the mosque after the disheartening incidents of war.

  • The Blue Mosque is called so because of the blue ceramic tiles with fifty different tulip designs used to decorate the interior of the mosque.

  • The Blue Mosque Istanbul Turkey sports some incredible features like 260 stained glass windows, a large dome, eight smaller domes and six minarets similar to the ones in Mecca.

  • You can find the Blue Mosque in UNESCO’s heritage list of ‘Historic Areas of Istanbul’.

  • The main entrance on the western side of the mosque is more magnificent than the northern entrance used by non-worshippers. Tourists are asked to use the northern entrance to maintain the mosque’s holiness and etiquette.

  • The mosque hosts a light show with a narrative about the history of the mosque during summer.

Plan Your Visit To Blue Mosque Istanbul

Blue Mosque Location
Tips for Visiting the Blue Mosque
Blue Mosque Istanbul

Prayer Times Istanbul Blue Mosque

The prayer times at Blue Mosque change throughout the year depending on the sunrise and sunset time.- Imsak/ Fajr which is held two hours before dawn - Güneş/ Tulu at the crack of dawn

  • Öğle/ Zuhr at midday
  • İkindi/ Asr by afternoon
  • Akşam/ Maghrib during sunset
  • Yatsi/ Isha before the last light of the day

Blue Mosque Istanbul Timings - Operating hours: 9 AM to 7 PM

  • The Blue Mosque Istanbul timings are from 9 AM to 7 PM every day. However, the mosque is closed for 90 minutes during each prayer time.

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Blue Mosque Istanbul FAQs

What is the blue mosque Istanbul ticket price?

    Visiting blue mosque Istanbul is completely free as no ticket price is charged to enter the mosque. The mosque has not levied any entrance fee as it is a holy place to offer prayers to God and not a primary tourist spot.

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