It is not as old or as historic as its rivaling 'Hagia Sophia' but like the grand building it stands facing, Sultan ahmet mosque popularly called 'the blue mosque' is the dream of an emperor, his highest aspiration, standing out like the solitaire bedecked in a ring amongst its contemporaries.
Its victory stroke is that it is not dead yet. Its spacious halls, glistening ceramics and chandeliers hanging from sky high ceilings are all alive with the prayers of many believers that knock on its doors and kneel on its floors. While outsiders to the faith queue infront of its majestic doors, waiting for their turn in its grand courtyard examining its galleries.
When the clock bids and the devotees depart, the vistors enter eagerly. Failing to mimic the order of the believers, the visitors totter around in deference holding their shoes in plastic bags, admiring the mosque and appreciating the delicate carving at the mihrab from a distance. After a few minutes of silence, pictures and videos, visitors make a quiet exit into the courtyard.
There are six elegant minarets from where the call for prayers is made five times a day, nine mighty domes that reverberate with devotion, the 260 windows that let in the light and 20,000 blue tiles fitted on its ceilings - all tell the story of four hundred years that it has been standing for.
|The central hall is lit with 260 windows|
The mosque stands proudly in the center of Istanbul adjacent to the ancient Hippodrome. Commissioned by Sultan Ahmet, it was to be his response to Justinian's Hagia Sophia. The ambitious sultan demolished the last few remnants of the Great Palace of Byzantine to make place for his ambitious project at the chosen spot. Although built in seven years, even after four centuries the mosque is by no means an old building. It is constantly restored to its old glory.