I did my degree in religions and theology at Manchester University, so as a traveller, I am a bit of a culture vulture – especially when it comes to religious sites and architecture. The Blue Mosque in Istanbul is something that I have wanted to see for a long time. It’s just that travel and work plans often got in the way. Well, I am finally here. I hope that you enjoy my guide to the blue Mosque in Istanbul.
The Blue Mosque is in the Sultanahmet district of Istanbul. You can get a tram to Sultanahmet and tram tickets are 4TL each way. It is walkable from Sultan Hostel.
Practicalities visiting the Blue Mosque as a Tourist
As a tourist, you can visit the blue Mosque for free. However, you will not be allowed in prayer areas and you will need to avoid prayer times.
What to wear to the Blue Mosque
Girls must cover their shoulders legs and head in order to enter the Blue Mosque. You can shop for a headscarf of pashmina in the grand bazaar and make sure that you wear comfortable clothes that cover your arms and legs. If you didn’t get chance to buy a head covering, they will lend you a headscarf free of charge.
Men must also have legs covered, so you will not get away with shorts. Hats are not allowed.
You will need to remove your shoes on entry. Plastic bags are provided, so you can remove your shoes and put them in a plastic bag to carry, rather than leaving them outside the mosque.
History of The Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque was built between 1609 and 1617. It was constructed by Sedefkar Mehmet Aga upon the order of Sultan Ahmaed, the 14th Sultan of the Ottomans.
When the Ottoman Turks built a Mosque, it was not limited to a place of worship, but was a large complex of buildings. The Sultanahmet Mosque originally included a hospital, a Madrasa (school for higher education), a soup kichen, a bazaar (market) and a tomb for the members of the royal family.
The name ‘The Blue Mosque’ was a name given by Western Visitors because of the (over 21000) tiles from Iznik that adorn the interior of the Mosque.
Information about Islam
Muslims believe in one God (Allah) and pray five times daily (salah). If you are travelling in a Muslim country, you may hear the first call to prayer at around 5am! Isla is a very respectful religion based on the teachings handed down from Allah in the Qu’ran.
At the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque) you will see ritual washing areas for wudu (ritual washing to purify before prayer). You will see separate worship areas and men and women (this is not sexist, it is for the focus of prayer).
If you look at the carpet inside the Blue Mosque, you will see some darker red sections, which separate areas of prayer.
Inside the Blue Mosque, there is a section where you can request further information about Islam.
If you are visiting Istanbul, you might also like to read about…
Taking the boar to Princes Islands Istanbul
Is Istanbul Safe?
The Grand Bazaar Istanbul and Spice Bazaar Istanbul