The Blue Mosque of Istanbul towering over the the
Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorus is one of the first sights a cruise ship
passenger will see when sailing into Istanbul from the Mediterranean Sea.
The Blue Mosque was built from 1610-1619 under Sultan Ahmed I. beside the
Hagia Sophia on the site of the Great Palace of Byzantium, separated only
by a small park. With the unusual number of six minarets and a great cascade
of domes and semi-domes, which billow heavenward towards the mosque's great
dome, the Blue Mosque is a worthy pendant to the Hagia
Sophia and a magnificent example of Islamic architecture.
The interior is of great beauty and grandeur and surprises with its
bright atmosphere. Numerous stained glass windows as well as domes and
semi-domes surrounding the main dome create a charming play of light and
give the walls an amazing transparency (second picture below). The walls
are decorated with an abundance of marvellous tiles and precious materials,
its name however the Blue Mosque didn't get because of the blue tiles but
because of the elaborately painted decors.