Other Attractions Around Blue Mosque

The Ayasofya is located just a stroll away across the Hippodrome. This place is worth visiting if only to see the piece of architecture built centuries ago that became a benchmark for the Blue Mosque. When you visit the Blue Mosque you are sure to compare your experience with the Ayasofya and the similarity is striking. In fact Sedefkar Mehmet Aga, the architect of the Blue Mosque, through his architecture, sought to pay tribute to Anthemius of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus who built the Ayasofya almost a thousand years before Mehmet Aga was born.

In the Ayasofya, you are overwhelmed by the domes billowing upwards when you enter the Mosque. Whereas, in the Blue Mosque the effect has been created on the exterior and as you approach the building from the courtyard, dome upon dome seems to billow upward in front of you, gradually revealing its full grandeur.

On your visit to the Blue Mosque, you will also see the tomb of Sultan Ahmed I. This tomb was started after his death in 1617 and completed by his son Osman II. The tomb has a domed portico with a rectangular extension in the rear. The mausoleum contains 36 tombs in all, with Sultan Ahmed's tomb in the center. There are inscriptions from the Koran on the ebony door and on the wall facing the entrance. There is dark green, red, blue and white tiling on the inside walls between the windows. This 17th century tiling is remarkable and is sure to catch your attention.

After visiting the Blue Mosque, you may leisurely explore the surrounding area. The complex has an imperial lodge, a school, service kiosk and several shops. A stroll around the area will give you a feel of the true ambience of the place. You may see the odd worshipper coming in for their prayers in quiet solitude.

A visit to the Blue Mosque and the Ayasofya gives you a glimpse of the architectural genius of the great masters. It seems the two masterpieces seem to be challenging each other across millenniums and competing in their mysticism. The Mosque with its six minarets and the great cascade of domes is one of the premier sights of Istanbul and an experience you must never forego.
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