Istanbul is home to some of the most magnificent architectural wonders in the world, and the Blue Mosque is no exception. Rich in history and adorned with stunning craftsmanship, this iconic mosque is a must-visit for anyone traveling to Istanbul.


The Significance of the Blue Mosque in Islamic Architecture

Constructed between 1609 and 1616 during the reign of Sultan Ahmed I, the Blue Mosque, also known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, is one of the most important mosques in Istanbul. Its grandeur and unique architectural style have earned it a place on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.

More UNESCO Sites in Istanbul >>

The Architecture of the Blue Mosque

Exterior Features

The Six Minarets

One of the most striking features of the Blue Mosque is its six minarets, which tower over the Istanbul skyline. This was a controversial choice at the time, as it equaled the number of minarets at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Eventually, a seventh minaret was added to the Grand Mosque to resolve the issue.

The Central Dome and Semi-domes

The central dome, with a diameter of 23.5 meters and a height of 43 meters, is flanked by four semi-domes, creating a visually harmonious and balanced exterior. The cascading effect of the domes is a true masterpiece of Ottoman architecture.

Interior Design

Blue Iznik Tiles

The mosque gets its nickname, “Blue Mosque,” from the 20,000 blue Iznik tiles that adorn its interior. These hand-painted tiles feature intricate floral and geometric patterns, reflecting the beauty and sophistication of the Ottoman Empire.

Stained Glass Windows

The mosque boasts 260 stained glass windows, filling the interior with a mesmerizing play of light and color. These windows were designed by the renowned architect Sedefkâr Mehmed Ağa, who was a student of the great Mimar Sinan.

Mihrab and Minbar

The mihrab, a semicircular niche in the wall that indicates the direction of Mecca, and the minbar, a pulpit used for sermons, are both ornately decorated with marble, mother-of-pearl, and gold leaf.

Guided Tours of the Blue Mosque

Visiting the Blue Mosque in Istanbul (2023)

How to Get to the Blue Mosque

The mosque is located in the heart of the old city.

From the old city hotels, take the T1 tram to the Sultanahmet tram station.

The mosque is within walking distance of the station. If you’re staying in the Sultanahmet area, the mosque is easily accessible on foot.

From Taksim hotels, take the funicular from Taksim Square to Kabataş, then the T1 tram to Sultanahmet station.

Blue Mosque Opening Hours 2023

The mosque is open from the morning prayer till the night prayer, and visiting time for visitors**:**

  • April to October: 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM (last entrance at 6:00 PM)
  • November to March: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (last entrance at 4:00 PM)

Visitors can only see inside between the prayers. It’s important to check the prayer times before planning your visit, so you don’t arrive during a time when the mosque is closed.

Blue Mosque Entry Fee 2023

It is completely FREE.

Restoration Status at Blue Mosque in 2023: Open

After a recent restoration in 2022, the Blue Mosque is completely open from 21.04.2023 to visitors, and there is no entrance fee or reservation required to enter.

Tips for Visiting the Blue Mosque

Best Times to Visit

To avoid crowds and enjoy a more peaceful experience, consider visiting the Blue Mosque early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Keep in mind that the mosque will be closed to visitors during prayer times.

What to Wear and Bring

When visiting the Blue Mosque, dress modestly to respect the religious significance of the site. Ensure that your knees, shoulders, and upper arms are covered, and women should wear a headscarf. If you forget to bring a headscarf, you can purchase one at the entrance.

Photography Etiquette

Photography is allowed inside the Blue Mosque, but refrain from taking pictures of people praying. Be respectful and keep noise levels low while taking photographs.

Istanbul E-Pass: Enjoy a Free Guided Tour of Hagia Sophia

The Istanbul E-Pass offers a convenient and cost-effective way to explore the city and make the most of your visit to Hagia Sophia. One of the key benefits of the E-Pass is that it includes a free guided tour of Blue Mosque, allowing you to delve deeper into its history and architectural marvels with the help of a knowledgeable guide.

In addition to the complimentary Blue Mosque tour, the Istanbul E-Pass grants you access to over 50 other attractions across the city. This means you can explore Istanbul’s rich history and culture at your own pace without worrying about purchasing individual tickets for each site.

The History of the Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque, also known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, is one of the most famous landmarks in Istanbul, Turkey. Built in the early 17th century, the mosque is known for its impressive domes, intricate tilework, and stunning architecture. The mosque has a rich history that has made it an iconic part of Istanbul’s skyline.

Construction of the Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque was commissioned by Sultan Ahmed I in 1609, during the Ottoman Empire’s golden age. The Sultan wanted to build a grand mosque that would rival the famous Hagia Sophia, which had been the largest mosque in Istanbul for centuries. To achieve this, the Sultan commissioned the famous architect Sedefkâr Mehmed Ağa to design the mosque.

Construction on the Blue Mosque began in 1609 and took seven years to complete. The mosque was built on the site of the ancient Hippodrome, which had been a center of sporting and social events in Constantinople (Istanbul) since Roman times. The construction of the Blue Mosque caused controversy at the time, as it required the demolition of several important buildings, including the palace of the Byzantine emperors.

Features of the Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque was officially opened in 1616 and quickly became one of the most popular landmarks in Istanbul. The mosque’s distinctive blue tiles, which cover the walls of the interior, are a testament to the skill of the Ottoman craftsmen who worked on the project. The mosque also features several domes, six minarets, and a central courtyard that can accommodate up to 10,000 worshippers.

Preservation and Restoration

Over the centuries, the Blue Mosque has survived earthquakes, fires, and other disasters, thanks to ongoing maintenance and restoration efforts. Today, the mosque remains an important symbol of Istanbul’s rich history and is visited by millions of tourists every year.

In recent years, the Blue Mosque has undergone significant renovations to preserve its historic beauty. These efforts have included repairs to the mosque’s foundation, restoration of the interior tilework, and installation of new lighting to enhance the mosque’s architectural features.

Read more about mosques in Istanbul >>

The Spiritual Experience at the Blue Mosque

The Atmosphere of Serenity and Reverence

The Blue Mosque offers a unique atmosphere of serenity and reverence, allowing visitors to experience the spiritual essence of the mosque. As you walk through the vast prayer hall, you’ll be enveloped in an ambiance of tranquility and contemplation.

The Call to Prayer and Daily Rituals

The call to prayer, or adhan, is an essential part of the daily rituals at the Blue Mosque. The melodious recitation echoes through the mosque’s courtyard and surrounding streets, inviting the faithful to fulfill their religious duties.

Where to Stay Near the Blue Mosque

If you’re planning to visit the Blue Mosque and want to stay nearby, there are many great accommodation options in the area. Here are three of the best:

The Magnaura Palace Hotel

Located in the heart of the Sultanahmet area, just 500 feet from the Blue Mosque and 800 feet from Hagia Sophia, the Magnaura Palace Hotel is a luxurious option for those who want to be close to the action. The hotel features beautifully designed rooms and suites, each with its own unique decor and style. Guests can enjoy a range of amenities including free Wi-Fi, a restaurant, and a bar.

Obelisk Hotel & Suites

If you’re looking for a comfortable and clean hotel that’s very close to the Blue Mosque, the Obelisk Hotel & Suites is an excellent choice. Located just a short walk from the mosque, this hotel features comfortable rooms and suites with balconies offering stunning views of the city. Guests can also enjoy a lounge and other amenities during their stay.

Best Point Hotel & Suites

The Best Point Hotel & Suites is located right at the heart of Istanbul’s historic peninsula, within around a 2297 feet from many historical sites like Topkapi Palace. The hotel offers comfortable and spacious rooms and suites, all of which include free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and flat-screen TVs. Guests can also enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet each morning.

Where to Eat Near the Blue Mosque

After exploring the Blue Mosque and the surrounding area, you’re sure to work up an appetite. Fortunately, there are plenty of great restaurants nearby where you can enjoy some delicious Turkish cuisine. Here are a few of the best:

Ararat Terrace Restaurant & Rooftop

Located just a few minutes’ walk from the Blue Mosque, the Ararat Terrace Restaurant & Rooftop is a great place to enjoy some traditional Turkish food. The restaurant offers a range of dishes made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients, as well as stunning views of the city from its rooftop terrace.

Turgut Kebab Restaurant

If you’re looking for some delicious kebabs near the Blue Mosque, Turgut Kebab Restaurant is an excellent choice. This cozy restaurant serves up a range of grilled meats, salads, and other Turkish dishes, all made with fresh ingredients and cooked to perfection.

Turk Art Terrace Restaurant

Another great option for Turkish food near the Blue Mosque is Turk Art Terrace Restaurant. Located just a short walk from the mosque, this restaurant offers a range of classic dishes like mezze, kebabs, and pide, as well as stunning views of the city from its terrace.

Nearby Attractions and Experiences

Explore the Old City with Guided Tours

Hagia Sophia

The Hagia Sophia, another architectural wonder, is just a stone’s throw away from the Blue Mosque. Once a church, later a mosque, and now a museum, the Hagia Sophia’s fascinating history and beautiful mosaics make it an essential stop on any Istanbul itinerary. Read more…


The ancient Hippodrome, located nearby, was once the heart of Byzantine public life. Today, visitors can explore the remnants of this historical site, including the Serpent Column and the Obelisk of Thutmose III. Read more…

Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum

Art enthusiasts will appreciate the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum, which showcases an extensive collection of artifacts and artwork from various periods of Islamic history. Read more…

Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace, the opulent residence of the Ottoman sultans, is another must-visit site. The palace complex offers a glimpse into the lavish lifestyles of the Ottoman elite and houses a fascinating array of treasures, including the famous Topkapi Dagger and the Spoonmaker’s Diamond. Read more…

Basilica Cistern

The Basilica Cistern, an ancient underground water storage facility, is an eerie and enchanting experience. Explore its dimly lit, column-lined chambers and discover the famous Medusa head columns. Read more…

Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s oldest and largest covered markets, is a shopping paradise. With over 4,000 shops selling everything from spices to carpets, you’re sure to find the perfect souvenir. Read more…

Istanbul Archaeological Museums

The Istanbul Archaeological Museums, located near Topkapi Palace, house a vast collection of artifacts spanning millennia of human history. Discover treasures from ancient civilizations, including the famed Alexander Sarcophagus. Read more…


The Blue Mosque is not only a significant religious site but also a testament to the beauty and craftsmanship of Ottoman architecture. With its exquisite design, fascinating history, and spiritual atmosphere, it is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Istanbul. By following the tips and advice provided in this article, you can make the most of your visit to this magnificent site.

Visitor Information

  • 💵

    Entrance Fee: Free

  • ⌛ Opening Hours: April to October: 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM (last entrance at 6:00 PM); November to March: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (last entrance at 4:00 PM)

  • Closed: No, except long Friday Prayers

  • 📍

    Location: Binbirdirek, At Meydanı Cd No:10, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul


Is Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia the Same?

No, the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia are two separate landmarks in Istanbul. The Blue Mosque is an active mosque, while the Hagia Sophia is a former church turned into a museum.

Why Is the Blue Mosque So Famous?

The Blue Mosque is famous for its stunning architecture, intricate tilework, and historical significance as one of Istanbul’s most important landmarks.

Can You Go Inside the Blue Mosque?

Yes, visitors can go inside the Blue Mosque outside of prayer times. Visitors should also follow the mosque’s dress code and other etiquette guidelines.

How Much Time Do You Need in the Blue Mosque?

A visit to the Blue Mosque can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how much time you want to spend admiring the mosque’s intricate design and decoration. Visitors should also allow extra time for getting to and from the mosque, especially during peak tourist season when crowds can be quite dense.

Who Built the Blue Mosque and Why?

The Blue Mosque was built by Sultan Ahmed I in the early 17th century. The mosque was commissioned as a show of Ottoman power and was intended to rival the nearby Hagia Sophia.

What Do You Wear to the Blue Mosque in Turkey?

Visitors to the Blue Mosque should dress modestly, with their knees, shoulders, and upper arms covered. Women should also cover their hair. Shoes should be removed before entering the mosque.

Do You Pay to Enter Blue Mosque?

No, it is completely free.

Is the Blue Mosque Open for Visitors?

Yes, the Blue Mosque is open for visitors outside of prayer times. Visitors should be respectful of worshippers and follow the mosque’s dress code and other etiquette guidelines.

Why Is Istanbul So Special?

Istanbul is a unique city that straddles two continents, with a rich history and cultural heritage. It is home to countless historical landmarks, vibrant markets, and a diverse culinary scene.

How Much Time Do You Need in the Blue Mosque?

A visit to the Blue Mosque can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how much time you want to spend admiring the mosque’s intricate design and decoration.

How Far Is Hagia Sophia from Blue Mosque?

The Hagia Sophia is located just a short walk from the Blue Mosque in Istanbul’s historic Sultanahmet district.

When Was the Blue Mosque Built?

The Blue Mosque was built in the early 17th century, between 1609 and 1616, during the reign of Sultan Ahmed I.

Why Is the Blue Mosque Called Blue?

The Blue Mosque is named for the blue Iznik tiles that adorn its interior. These tiles feature intricate floral and geometric patterns in shades of blue, green, and white, giving the mosque its distinctive blue hue.

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