28 March, 2016

Blue Mosque or The Sultan Ahmed Mosque

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque or Sultan Ahmet Mosque is a historic mosque in Istanbul. The mosque is popularly known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior. It was built from 1609 to 1616, during the rule of Ahmed I.

Just like many other mosques, it also comprises a tomb of the founder, a madrasa and a hospice. Besides still used as a mosque, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque has also become a popular tourist attraction in Istanbul.

Besides being tourist attraction, it's also a active mosque, so it's closed to non worshippers for a half hour or so during the five daily prayers.

Best way to see great architecture of the Blue Mosque is to approach it from the Hippodrome. (West side of the mosque). If you are non-Muslim visitor, you also have to use same direction to enter the Mosque.  ​​

Please ignore and avoid people who offer you to enter mosque without  queue up. Those people mostly will try to sell you something and take you to the some shopping place. Best way is to line up and enter Mosque just like other tourists. Don't worry if line looks very long, it will move very fast for sure. 

Tourists always wonder how to visit  Blue Mosque.There is also many other questions such as if there is any  entrance fee,dress code, where to put my shoes etc.Here below is the answers of all these simple questions...

1) Plan your visit to the Sultanahmet area of Istanbul, so that you better arrive mid morning. Prayers happens five times a day with the first call to prayer at sunrise and the last one at nightfall.The mosque closes for 90 minutes at each pray time. Avoid visiting a mosque at pray time (Especially Midday praying on Friday) or within a half hour after the ezan is chanted from the Mosque minarets. 

2) Before stepping in to Mosque, take off your shoes and put in plastic bags provided at the entrance(Free of Charge). This is required of all persons as part of Muslim tradition when entering a mosque. There is also no charge to enter the Blue Mosque.

3) If you are women wear a head covering when entering to Blue Mosque.Head coverings are available at the Blue Mosque entrance for free. Place the fabric cover on top of your head with equal portions hanging on both sides.
Take one side and wrap it around your neck, tossing it behind your back with covering your shoulders. Don't cover your face, the covering is meant to hide your hair only. 

4) When you are inside the mosque, remain quiet and don't use flash photography. Since this  is a place of worship, avoid staring or taking picture of those who are praying. Visit the mosque respectfully and quietly. At the Mosque exit, you can put used plastic bags in designated bin bags and return head covers to duty staff. 

5) You can do donation to help maintain the Mosque at the exit door.It is not compulsory, but if you make donation you will get the official receipt for it. 

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