Istanbul – The city of 3200 mosques
Ahmed was fourteen years old when he became the sultan of Turkey at the death of his father who died at a very young age. Aware of his own mortality he decided to build something to be remembered for.
He called his chief architect and asked him to design a mosque with gold minarets. The architect took his instructions a bit wrong and designed a mosque with six minarets ( in the Turkish language the word gold and six are pronounced almost similarly).
He could have his head chopped off for that mistake but lucky for him that the Sultan liked the idea of a mosque with six minarets.
Usually, a mosque has two or four minarets, a mosque with six minarets was unheard of. Also, it was less expensive to build than gold minerals. So the project went ahead. The Mosque was built in record time (in less than seven years) and the emperor died a year after aged twenty-six.
It was a good idea after all because the mosque the Sultan Ahmed build is the most famous mosque in the world.
It is known as The Blue Mosque. But only by the outsiders. Turkish people know it as the Sultanahmet Mosque.
Istanbul has 3200 mosques.
Contrary to the popular belief The Blue Mosque is neither the oldest nor the biggest mosque in Turkey but is undoubtedly the most famous and beautiful one.
The Blue Mosque was our first stop on day-long sightseeing in Istanbul.
It got the name The Blue Mosque because of its blue interior.
What I found even more impressive than the mosque were three columns just outside the mosque.
Next post – how to see Istanbul in one day.