The Blue Mosque was commissioned by Sultan Ahmet I when he was only 19 years old. It was built near the Hagia Sophia, over the site of the ancient hippodrome and Byzantine imperial palace. Construction work began in 1609 and took seven years. The mosque was designed by architect Mehmet Aga, whose unfortunate predecessor was found wanting and executed. The mosque is popularly known as the Blue Mosque because of its blue tiles decorating the walls of its interior and its six minarets that with speakers that announces prayer time five times a day. With this mosque, Sultan Ahmet I set out to build a monument that would rival and even exceed the nearby Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya) in magnificence and beauty. Sultan Ahmet was so anxious for his magnificent creation to be completed that he often assisted in the work. Sadly, he died just a year after the completion of his masterpiece, at the age of 27. He is buried outside the mosque with his wife and three sons.
However, the windows are replacements; they still create the luminous effects of the originals, which came from Venice. The tiles line the walls, particularly in the gallery (which is not open to the public). I was able to see immediately why the mosque, which was constructed between 1606 and 1616, over 1000 years after Aya Sofya, is not as daring as its forerunner. Four massive ‘elephant’s feet’ pillars hold up the less resolute dome.
This place is still kept in Holy in accordance to Muslim traditions. Before everyone walked in, must took off the shoes and put in plastic bags provided at the entrance. This is required everyone as part of Muslim tradition when entering a mosque. For women, they have to wear a head covering. Head coverings are available at the entrance. It is for woman to hide their hair only.