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Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque) is a historic mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. It remains a functioning mosque, while also attracting large numbers of tourists. It was constructed between 1609 and 1616 during the rule of Ahmed I. Its Külliye contains Ahmed’s tomb, a madrasah, and a hospice.
See the fact file below for more information on the Blue Mosque or alternatively, you can download our 20-page Blue Mosque worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Sultan Ahmed Mosque, known as the Blue Mosque by many tourists because of its bluish interior decoration, is the most important mosque in Istanbul standing next to the Byzantine Hippodrome in the old city center.
- It was built by the Ottoman Sultan Ahmed I from 1609-1616 facing Hagia Sophia, in order to compete with it. Its architect was Sedefkar Mehmet Aga, who was also a poet and inlayer and a student of the greatest architect, Sinan.
- When Ahmed I died in 1617, he was buried near the mosque and a mausoleum was built over his tomb.
- The mosque has an outer courtyard accessible by several gates, an elevated inner courtyard (named “latecomers courtyard”) paved in marble and surrounded by a portico with small domes.
- The Blue Mosque was built between 1609 and 1616 by the architect Mehmet Ağa, as instructed by Sultan Ahmet I.
- It was designed as an imperial show of strength to complement the imposing Hagia Sophia, which faces it across Sultanahmet Square.
- Unlike the Hagia Sophia, it is supported by four ‘elephant foot’ pillars, with the central dome (23.5m in diameter and 43m in height) flanked by four semi-domes, making it nearly square in shape.
- It is dubbed the Blue Mosque because of the over 20,000 handmade ceramic Iznik tiles that decorate the interior, featuring many different tulip, rose, carnation, and lily designs, and well lit by 260 windows.
- Sultan Ahmet I won out in the end, and the Blue Mosque now sits atop a hill that was once home to the Grand Palace of Constantinople of the Byzantine Empire.
- It is also situated strategically across from Hagia Sophia, a former Orthodox Christian church that was converted into the Ottoman’s main imperial mosque.
- One prominent feature of the Blue Mosque is its minarets – tall, narrow towers around the outside of a mosque where muezzins traditionally call the faithful to prayer five times a day. Sultan Ahmet I wanted to make sure his mosque was grand and commissioned a design with six minarets. Though the number of minarets on a mosque can vary, five was usually the maximum at the time.
- Folklore has it that the Sultan asked for golden minarets, but his designer thought he had asked for six since the words sound similar in Turkish.
- Whatever the reason, some people thought this ambitious design bordered on blasphemy since the only other mosque to have six minarets was the Kaaba in Mecca, the holiest site in Islam. Sultan Ahmet paid for a seventh minaret to be built in Mecca, and the controversy ended. The Blue Mosque is one of three mosques in Turkey to have six minarets today.
- Four minarets stand on the corners of the mosque and two others at the end of the front courtyard. Traditionally, muezzins climbed the steep, narrow stairs within the minarets and sang to the citizens of Istanbul to come to pray. More recently, the muezzins have been replaced with loudspeakers.
- On the lower levels of the Blue Mosque and at every pier, the interior of the mosque is lined with over 20,000 handmade ceramic tiles, made in Iznik city (Nicaea) in over fifty different tulip designs.
- The tiles on the lower levels are traditional in design, while at gallery level they become flamboyant with flowers, fruit and cypresses.
- Over 20,000 tiles were made under the supervision of the Iznik master potter Kasap Haci and Baris Efendi from Avanos, Cappadocia. The price for each tile was fixed by the Sultan’s decree, as tile prices in general increased over time.
- As a result, the quality of the tiles used in the building decreased gradually. Their colours have faded and changed and the glazes have dulled. The tiles on the back balcony wall are tiles that were restored from the harem in the Topkapı Palace after it was damaged by fire in 1574.
- The upper levels of the Mosque interior are dominated by blue paint. Over 200 stained glass windows with intricate designs let in natural light. On the chandeliers, there are ostrich eggs that were meant to avoid cobwebs inside the mosque by repelling spiders.
- The decorations include verses from the Qur’an, many by Seyyid Kasim Gubari, regarded as the greatest calligrapher of his time.
Blue Mosque Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Blue Mosque across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Blue Mosque worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque) which is a historic mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. It remains a functioning mosque, while also attracting large numbers of tourists. It was constructed between 1609 and 1616 during the rule of Ahmed I. Its Külliye contains Ahmed’s tomb, a madrasah, and a hospice.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Blue Mosque in Istanbul Facts
- BMI Profile
- The Sultan
- Jumbled Mosque
- Feeling Blue
- BMI Trademark
- BMI Puzzle
- Breaking News!
- My Dream Vacay
- My Prayer
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Link will appear as Blue Mosque Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, October 15, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.