The Sultan Ahmed Mosque, better known as the Blue Mosque, is located in Istanbul, Turkey in Sultanahmet Square. It was commissioned by Sultan Ahmed I in 1609 to be the first imperial mosque built by the Ottoman Empire in over forty years. The mosque was given the name "Blue" by foreign travelers because of the beautiful tiles in tones of blue, turquoise, and green that decorate the interior. Although the mosque is one of many in Istanbul, the former capital of the Ottoman Empire, it is the national mosque of Turkey as well as a tourist attraction. The Blue Mosque is one of the last examples of classical Ottoman architecture, with its cascading domes, striking pencil-shaped minarets, and luxuriously tiled interior.Sultan Ahmed I is not recognized as a particularly significant sultan in the history of the Ottoman Empire, mainly because he never won any notables victories and had a very short reign. He came to the throne at age 13 after the death of his father Mehmed III.
[...] Next to the platform is an elaborate wooden pulpit that displays the mother-of-pearl inlay that Mehmed Aga was known for. These two elements echo the Christian tradition of a preacher with a large wooden pulpit, and are relatively unique to Ottoman mosques, like the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia. Since the domes provide such a spacious interior, windows were necessary to light the large, open space. There are three tiers of stained glass windows on the walls, as well as smaller windows around the bases of the domes. [...]
[...] The architecture of Istanbul was based around the Hagia Sophia, in the sense that later architects wanted to model their buildings after it in theory, but correct the flaws and improve on the design. This competition can also be seen as a competition against Christianity itself, to out-build one of the greatest Christian buildings in history and prove the Ottoman Empire's claim on the formerly Byzantine capital of Constantinople. A high concentration of mosques would depict the city as a Muslim capital, rather than a sacked Christian city. [...]
[...] The central dome has 28 windows while each of the semi-domes has 14 windows, and some of these windows are ‘blind' because of the overlapping design of the domes. The colored glass for the windows was a gift from the Signoria of Venice, but most of the original windows have been replaced with modern ones that are not nearly as artfully crafted. This artistic exchange shows how the Ottoman Empire was closely connected to Western Europe in a different way than other Muslim empires, especially through their culture and arts. [...]
[...] Thus all major Ottoman mosques in Istanbul were built in full awareness of the challenge posed by Haghia Sophia, and they were in some sense in its shadow.” The Blue Mosque has been in constant competition with the Hagia Sophia since its conception, especially because of their close proximity, since it literally could be in the shadow of the Hagia Sophia, and their similar architectural style. The Hagia Sophia is certainly magnificent, but is more of a historical piece that reflects the cultural transition from Byzantine Constantinople to Ottoman Istanbul; name Qustantiniya continued on the coinage, but Istanbul now claimed much of the thousand-year heritage of the Byzantine Empire a message driven home by the silhouettes of the mosques which quickly dominated the city's skyline.” Even today, [...]
[...] From the account of historian Sir Banister Fletcher, Mosque of Sultan Ahmed in Istanbul stands on a prominent site on the Hippodrome, where its mass is complementary to the structural system of Hagia Sophia.” Many residential palaces and a large portion of the sphendone, the semi-circular end of the Hippodrome, were destroyed to make room for the mosque. A fire in 1912 destroyed the neighborhood near the mosque, exposing the remains of the Byzantine Palace upon which the mosque and markets were built. [...]
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