08 April 2014

Istanbul - Blue Mosque

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque, popularly known as the Blue Mosque because of the dominant colour of the interior decoration, must be one of the most visited buildings on the planet, but no pre-reading prepares for its calm, stunning beauty.

The mosque was built in just seven years, starting 1609, on the orders of Ahmed I, upon the site of the palace of Byzantium's emperors. The architect, Sedefkar Mehmed Agha, designed an extraordinarily grand space composed of a main dome surrounded by eight smaller domes. The mosque boasts six minarets, instead of the normal maximum of four, the first to do so.

The interior is simply gorgeous, over 20,000 handmade ceramic tiles from Iznik (Nicaea) at the lower levels and upon the massive piers, the decorative scheme at higher levels executed in paint. There are over 200 subtle stained glass windows. Humankind be praised.

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