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Wednesday 3 October 2007

Top Ten Sights in Istanbul – No. 3: Sultanahmet Camii

Sultanahmet Camii, or more commonly known as the Blue Mosque to the tourists, is probably the most photographed mosque in the world. It earns the nickname of Blue Mosque from the Iznik tilework decorating its interior.

The Blue Mosque was built between 1609 to 1616 under the commission of Sultan Ahmet I. It is now one of the most famous religious buildings existing today. Anyone who has been to Istanbul dare not to miss this must visit place there.

A building in symmetry must be photographed symmetrically, as Islamic architecture emphasises on symmetry.

A closer look at the symmetrically arranged building features.

Emphasising on the symmetrical architecture again.

I visited the Blue Mosque several times during my one week stay from June the 27th to July the 3rd this year, just to capture the beauty of this magnificent religious building. I'm glad that I was rewarded with many good photos for the effort of getting there after dark.

Building symmetry on floodlights at night.

The Blue Mosque under floodlights in twilight.

It was a provocative issue when the imperial architect Mehmet Ağa built the mosque with six minarets, as no mosque outside of Mecca was to be built with more than five minarets. It was considered as an attempt to rival the architecture of Mecca at that time.

The Blue Mosque with its six minarets under floodlights during the night.

The courtyard covers an area as big as the prayer hall, with corridors all around the square courtyard.

The arched and domed corridor of the Blue Mosque.

Many mosques around the world prohibit women to enter the prayer hall, but inside the Blue Mosque, there is a special corner partitioned to allow women to pray inside the prayer hall.

A local young pretty lady I've asked to pose for me inside the Blue Mosque.

All male visitors have to cover their legs to beneath the knee level and all female visitors need to cover the whole body, including the hair, before entering the prayer hall. If your attire doesn't meet the specified dress code, do not panic. There are attendants there distributing veils to the female visitors and also pieces of cloths to cover the legs for male visitors who wear shorts. All these are on loan for free! I was once there with shorts and I had to wear a piece of cloth around me like 'sarong.'

Plastic bags are also given out for free to visitors for carrying their shoes with them.

The interior is filled with stained glass and chandeliers.

The symmetrically arranged domes and pendentives of the Blue Mosque.

One cannot claim to have visited Istanbul if one haven't seen the Blue Mosque. You gotta go around the compound to admire the Islamic architecture that emphasises on symmetry. I visited the Blue Mosque four times, including that one time ten years ago. How about you?

If you would like to read more of my travelogues on Istanbul, here are the links:-


Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

tt last pic reminds me of a good kaleidescope. totally breath-taking. must go to istanbul soon!

CK Ng said...

Thanks for your kind words, Terri. Istanbul is indeed a place full of culture. The Turkish people are very friendly too. :)

sultanahmet said...

I had been there.
I will return...

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