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                                      The Grand Mosques and The Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya Museum)

The Grand Mosques     








  The Blue Mosque is exceotionally striking.

The Blue Mosque, named for its interior, is known for its unusual compliment of six minarets.  İThereArePlaces or Its Suppliers

Sultan Ahmet I Camii, the Blue Mosque, with its six minarets and massive dome is one of Istanbul's major landmarks.

Dating from the early 17th century, it features beautiful architecture, delightful gardens and impressive fountains.  The name for the Blue Mosque is a result of the blue tinge that thousands of tiny tiles give to its interior. The windows of the Blue Mosque feature beautiful stained glass. Its walls are adorned with outstanding mosaics and the engineering of its dome is awe inspiring. 

Enter the Blue Mosque from the area known as the Hippodrome.  Take your time touring inside and outside as there is a wealth of exquisite ornamentation.  Exploring the Blue Mosque is the opportunity of a lifetime and we highly recommend that you take a guided tour. 

If you plan to visit any mosque, your clothing should be modest and cover arms and legs. If you are not appropriately dressed you will not be allowed to enter. (At some mosques that are also major sightseeing attractions, attendants will provide a body wrap for cover if you are not appropriately dressed (shorts and armless shirts or blouses are not appropriate and women’s hair must be covered with a scarf in all mosques)). 

Also, leave your footwear outside the mosque (it will be safe).  Some mosques provide temporary footwear.  Finally, mosques are closed to non-believers for approximately 30 minutes during each of the five daily prayers.  Friday is the Muslim holy day and on this day, the  mosques may be closed longer during the mid-day prayer.


The Süleymaniye Mosque, built in honor of Suleiman the Magnificent, is a masterpiece of design and its details are beautiful..  İThereArePlaces or Its Suppliers

The Süleymaniye Mosque, shown above, is the largest of Istanbul's mosques and is visible from most of the Old City, which is an area known as Sultanahmet.  The mosque, considered by many to contain the most sophisticated architecture of Istanbul's legendary mosques, sits atop a modest hill and is an extraordinary sight. 

Built by the famous architect Sinan for the Emperor Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century, the mosque is ornate and many of the columns contained in the Mosques were harvested from important ancient cities.  The dome of the Süleymaniye Mosque can be seen for miles, but you will only appreciate its magnificence, if you view it from the floor of the main chamber that it covers.

The construction the Suleymaniye Mosque took only seven years to complete, including the surrounding buildings which house a school, baths, a library and kitchens. 

The grounds of the  Süleymaniye Mosque  also include the mausoleums of Suleiman the Magnificent and his wife Roxelane.  

The architect of the mosque, Sinan, who is regarded as the "father of classical Turkish architecture", is buried in another, more modest section of the mosque complex.


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Interior courtyard of the Blue Mosque







Private Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour: Topkapi Palace, Aya Sofya, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar

From Viator Tours














The Suleymaniye Mosque is a Istanbul Landmark

Ayasofya Museum






Hagia Sophia, also know as the Ayasofya -Church of the Divine Wisdom, is one of world's greatest examples of Byzantine architecture.  It was commissioned by the Emperor Justinian in the sixth century A.D.  The construction of its hallmark dome,  marked a significant engineering feat in its day due to its size.

Unfortunately, Istanbul is earthquake prone and the original construction has been damaged and repaired a number of times, including replacement of a section of the original dome.

            The reddish hue of the Ayasofya compliments its Byzantine architecture

Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya), a cathedral built by the Emperor Justinian approximately 1500 years ago, has an amazing history.  Initially a church, it became a mosque with the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks and today has been preserved as a museum.  It is one of the most popular attractions in Istanbul. İThereArePlaces or Its Suppliers

Ayasofya is a gorgeous place to visit and one that whispers of past glories.  Whether you are of a religious persuasion or not, this building has a special feel and a noble bearing.  There is an interesting mix of both Muslim and Christian religious symbols in its decorations and Ayasofya is a place that should be on your itinerary if you travel to Istanbul.

Of some concern to historian and visitors is a current movement to return Ayasofya to that status of an active mosque rather than a museum.  While there is no shortage of prayer space in other mosques in the city, the reconversion to a mosque seems driven by the current government's preoccupation with diminishing the secular state of Turkey.

Ayasofya is closed Mondays..

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The ceiling of Ayasofy is a decorative ensemble indicating different eras of history



Many of the Christian mosaics were plastered over and are now being recovered intact


More Istanbul

Istanbul Overview
The Topkapi Palace
The Bazaars

Dolmabahaçe Palace
The Bosporus

Best Places to Visit in Turkey

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