Istanbul • Sultanahmet, the blue mosque

"Step into the vibrant history of Istanbul, a unique city where East meets West. Join us on a journey of discovery to the Blue Mosque, also known as Sultanahmet. This jewel of Ottoman architecture, resplendent with its stunning blue ceramics, is a testament to the skill of master artisans of its time. Learn about the fascinating story behind its construction, a testament to Sultan Ahmet's power and piety. And all in less than 5 minutes! Detailed explanations await you on our page. Ready yourself for a voyage through time, and let the beauty of the Blue Mosque astound you. Istanbul is waiting for you, are you ready to embark on the adventure?"

This film was made on the basis of photos and videos taken during the trip Turkey • Istanbul 2015

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Reading the text below will help you better understand the historical context of the sites shown in this video.

the Blue Mosque

The Istanbul Blue Mosque is one of the important historical mosques in Istanbul. It owes its name to the blue ceramics that adorn the interior walls. If it is known the world over as the "Blue Mosque", its real name is Sultanahmet, named after the sultan who ruled the Ottoman Empire when it was built between 1609 and 1616.

History of the mosque

Sultan Ahmet ordered the construction of a magnificent mosque to appease God who had not given him a decisive victory against Austria-Hungary. Since there was no victory, there was no loot either. The Sultan was therefore obliged to pay for the construction with funds from the Treasury, unlike his predecessors who used to use part of the spoils brought back from wars to build mosques.

The mosque was built opposite Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia) which was the most revered mosque in the city. The site was that of the Grand Palace of the Byzantine emperors where other palaces had been built by his predecessors. The repurchase of these buildings would considerably increase the bill for the construction.

The sultan's political intention was to demonstrate that Muslim architects were at least as good as the Christian architects to whom we owe Hagia Sophia. The plans for the Sultanahmet Mosque were modeled on those of Hagia Sophia which had been built 1000 years earlier by Emperor Justinian. Hagia Sophia was a church until the capture of Constantinople by the Ottomans in 1453.

The mosque

Sultanahmet has 6 minarets. This is quite unusual and there are only two such mosques in Turkey. The other is in Adana. The decision of the Sultan to put 6 minarets in his mosque was not to everyone's taste. This was tantamount to competing with the holy Ka'Ba mosque in Mecca and was therefore unacceptable to some Muslims. To get around this problem, the Sultan paid for the construction of a seventh minaret in Mecca.


Spoken comments in the film: 

The Blue Mosque (or its official name, the Sultanahmet Mosque) is certainly one of Istanbul's most iconic buildings. Built at the beginning of the 17th century, this mosque was to appease God who did not give victory to Sultan Ahmet in his war against Hungary. Unlike most mosques built by the sultans, this one was not paid for with the spoils brought back from a war campaign, as there was no victory. It was with funds from the Treasury that Sultan Ahmet had his mosque built. The Sultan attached great importance to the location of this new mosque. It must have been near the Hagia Sophia and the hippodrome. As it was necessary to buy the palaces that were built there, the bill only grew heavier.


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Disclaimer: Despite its appropriateness, copyright issues prevent the use of turkish traditional music in "Istanbul • Sultanahmet, the blue mosque, Turkey", hence the use of royalty-free music. Despite our careful selection, some might regret this decision, which is necessary to avoid potential lawsuits. Although difficult, this decision is the only viable solution.

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in the courtyard of the blue mosque, Istanbul • Turkey

in the courtyard of the blue mosque

one of the minarets of the Sultanahmet mosque, Istanbul • Turkey

one of the minarets of the Sultanahmet mosque

under the dome of the blue mosque, Istanbul • Turkey

under the dome of the blue mosque

 inside the Sultanahmet mosque, Istanbul • Turkey

inside the Sultanahmet mosque

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