The last great imperial
mosque, The Blue Mosque, was founded by Sultan Ahmet I and constructed by
the architect Mehmet Aga between 1609 and 1616.
Sultan Ahmet wanted to
surpass Justinian and his Hagia Sophia, and on the other hand architect Mehmet
Aga wanted to surpass his master Sinan. Sultan Ahmet was given little time
to enjoy his mosque, for he died the year after its completion, when he
was only twenty seven years of age.
The Sultan Ahmet Mosque
differs from the other mosques in Istanbul because of its six minarets.
The courtyard of the mosque is almost as large as the prayer hall and
makes one notice the elegance of the building with 26 granite columns covered
by 30 small domes. At the center of the courtyard there is an octagonal sadirvan
which serves only as decorative purpose.
The elegance of the interior
is overwhelming. It is very nearly a square 51 meters long and 53 meters wide,
covered by a dome 23.5 meters in diameter and 43 meters in height, resting on
four semi-domes, those again by smaller domes. The Blue Mosque is flooded with
light from its 260 windows. The dominant color is blue, from which
the building derives its popular name of the Blue Mosque.
The tiles up to the
windows and the walls and the ones in the sultans box are the most
beautiful Iznik tiles. Iznik produced ceramics of high quality and these
ceramic decorations often showed magnificent floral designs
such as the
traditional lily, carnation, tulip and rose motifs, cypress trees
and animals motifs. These are painted with blues and green as dominant colors.
Turkish rugs have always
played an important role inside mosques. They have not only covered floors and walls,
they have also been used as cushions, pillows and bed covers.
The kulliye of Sultan Ahmet
consists of a medrese, turbe, hospital, primary school, market , public kitchen, and kervansaray