Hagia Sofia and Blue Mosque


Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque are the two best-known and most beloved attractions in Istanbul. The architecture of both structures is indescribably beautiful and their history seems endless. From early morning to dusk, rain or shine, there are long lines of visitors admiring the exterior of these amazing structures and waiting to get inside. The two buildings face each other from opposite ends of a park with a beautiful water fountain between.

Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque

For Muslims the ancient Blue Mosque is the most holy. It’s an active mosque. During prayer (sala) five times a day tourists and non-worshipers are not allowed inside. All who enter the Blue Mosque remove their shoes and remain silent. Women must wear head coverings. There are no such restrictions for visitors to Hagia Sofia.

Hagia Sophia Dome

Hagia Sophia Dome

Built in the 6th century, the history of this magnificent structure goes back 1500 years. The quote below is from an article in Focus Mediterranean Magazine.

Water Fountain between-Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia

Water Fountain between Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia

“Many say Hagia Sophia was built on the site of an ancient pagan temple. Documents show that the first Hagia Sophia was built by Emperor Constantius, son of Emperor Constantinos I, and opened for services in 360 AD. Although very little is known about this church, experts think it was a basilica-type structure with a rectangular floor plan, circular apse, and timbered roof. It was like St. Stoudios Monastery, another basilica in Istanbul, the ruins of which still exist.”

Blue Mosque Dome

Blue Mosque Dome

Mentioned in my first blog from Istanbul there is a breathtaking view of Hagia Sofia from the hotel room window. No matter how many pictures I take, none of them begin to do it justice. It’s wonderful waking up and going to sleep looking at it. Will miss the view when sadly I leave Istanbul tomorrow. The time spent in Istanbul has truly been an enlightening experience.

Inside Hagia Sophia

Inside Hagia Sophia

The Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii in Turkish) is known as the Blue Mosque because of the blue tiles surrounding the walls of its interior. Built between 1609 and 1616 during the rule of Ahmed I the mosque houses his tomb.

Blue Mosque Tile

Blue Mosque Tile

“Following the Peace of Zsitvatorok (1606) and the unfavorable result of the wars with Persia, Sultan Ahmed I built a huge mosque in Istanbul. The mosque was built on the site of the palace of the Byzantine emperors. It faces the Hagia Sophia (at that time the most venerated mosque in Istanbul) and the hippodrome, a site of great symbolic significance. Large parts of the southern side of the Blue Mosque rest on the foundation and vaults of The Great Palace.”

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