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Ottoman architecture: Mosques of Istanbul

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  1. Introduction.
    1. The Sultan Ahmed Mosque.
    2. Sultan Ahmed I.
  2. History of the mosque.
    1. Importance of the location.
  3. Reasons why Sultan Ahmed I built the mosque.
    1. Symbol of power.
    2. Matching the size of the older mosques.
  4. Architecture.
    1. Ottoman architecture.
    2. The main dome.
    3. The idea of building a mosque as a part of a larger complex.
    4. The tiles used: Iznik tile work as being symbolic of the Ottoman Empire.
    5. The qibla wall.
    6. Three tiers of stained glass windows.
    7. A royal balcony for the sultan and his viziers.
    8. The minarets of the mosque.
  5. Difficulties in studying this mosque.
    1. Several different names and variations of those names.
    2. Finding specific details about the mosque.
    3. The sultan and architect of this mosque are not as well known.
  6. Conclusion.

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. [...]


[...] These structural decorations were key for mosque exteriors constructed in the empire by both Sinan and his students like Mehmed Aga, and they also set these mosques apart from both their non- Ottoman contemporaries and from churches. One of the most crucial characteristics of Ottoman architecture and specifically the Blue Mosque is the reason that the mosque is referred to as ?Blue:' the tiles. Sinan used tiles to decorate the interiors of many of his mosques, and this is probably where Mehmed Aga got the idea for an elaborately tiled mosque. [...]

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