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Last updated: 11 February, 2024
Expert travel writer: Dana Facaros

Built on the orders of Sultan Ahmet I (1603–17) to rival the Hagia Sophia in grandeur and beauty – and completed in 1616, one year before his death – the Blue Mosque (aka Sultan Ahmed Mosque) is considered one of the last great mosques of the classical period, combining Byzantine elements with traditional Islamic architecture.

With six slender minarets and a beautiful dome, it dominates Istanbul’s skyline. The interior is decorated with 21,000 hand-painted (mostly blue) tiles and stunning stained-glass windows.

The whole area around the Blue Mosque was once the site of the Byzantine emperors’ Great Palace. Some of the palace’s recently discovered, lavish floor mosaics, dating from AD 450-550, are on display at the Great Palace Mosaic Museum.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

Take the tram to Sultanahmet; it’s a short walk from there. Dress respectfully (long trousers and shirt with sleeves for men; knee-length skirt, sleeves and a headscarf for women) and be prepared to leave your shoes at the entrance.

The Blue Mosque has similar appeal to the Suleymaniye Mosque, so many visitors opt to go inside just one of them, viewing the other mosques from the outside. The Blue Mosque tends to be less crowded.

When to do it

The mosque is open all year round, seven days a week, except during prayers (half an hour after the call to prayer). Also avoid the main services on Friday mornings and early afternoons, unless you’re a Muslim.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Istanbul Classics and Highlights! Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi and more!

Istanbul

Istanbul Classics and Highlights! Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi and more!
This tour is a must in Istanbul with a small group! You will begin the day with the Roman / Byzantine Hippodrome, where the chariot races were organised and take place. Blue Mosque the only mosque with six minarets. Next, you will see the German Fountain - a gift of Kaiser Wilhelm. Hagia Sophia - The Church of Divine Wisdom is the highlight of this day. Following the visits your guide will take you to Nakkas Cistern and give you a presentation of old Istanbul and demonstration of Turkish Handicrafts and Grand Bazaar for thousent of shops. Magnificent Topkapı Museum is the big one, the most important museum of Turkey and Balkan Peninsula. First, second, third and fourth courtyards; the Audience Hall, Divan-the High Court,Treasury, gardens, kiosks. Hagia Irene Church. Your lunch will be served en route in a local and authentic restaurant where you will be able to taste various types of local tastes. To see these things with a great guide. Well, you will never be quite the same again.

Price: $125

Min age: 1

Rating 4.95 / 5 [309 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Istanbul in 1,2 or 3 Day Private Guided Tour with Highlights and Hidden Gems

Istanbul

Istanbul in 1,2 or 3 Day Private Guided Tour with Highlights and Hidden Gems
Whether you are interested in history, architecture, culture or cuisine while exploring highlights or hidden gems of Istanbul our very well-made itinerary for 1,2 or 3 days private guided tour has you covered ! Istanbul: no other city on earth straddles two continents -Europe and Asia- and has been home to three great empires (Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman). We will discover Hagia Sophia, visit Topkapi Palace, stroll through Grand Bazaar and enjoy the beauty of Blue Mosque. In a city like this, it's important to have an experienced local guide who can help you to navigate, all the while ensuring you the most personal experience possible. We will sometimes use a ferry and sometimes subway or tram to navigate through the city. Don't forget that the best way of exploring a new city is to use public transport or walking. • Skip-the-Line Access to the Museums • Well-Made Itinerary for 1,2 or 3 Days Private Guided Tour • Customize the itinerary according to your interest • Taste Local Food

Price: $150

Min age: 0

Rating 4.99 / 5 [232 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Private Tour: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour including Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace

Istanbul

Private Tour: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour including Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace
Take a hassle-free tour of Istanbul's most famous attractions with your own private guide to lead the way. You'll enjoy personalized attention on your private tour of magical Istanbul and its signature sights: the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and Topkapi Palace.

Price: $320

Min age: 0

Rating 4.41 / 5 [220 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Morning Istanbul: Half-Day Tour with Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Hippodrome and Grand Bazaar

Istanbul

Morning Istanbul: Half-Day Tour with Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Hippodrome and Grand Bazaar
Enjoy this 4 hours tour with visits to the highlights of the old city. Firstly visit the magnificent Byzantine church of St Sophia. After here continue to Hippodrome, the former centre of sporting and political activities in Constantinople and the Blue Mosque, amazing blue tiles from 16th century. Final visit of the morning is to the Grand Bazaar.

Price: $88

Min age: 0

Rating 4.35 / 5 [80 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Istanbul: Blue Mosque & Hagia Sophia Small-Group Tour

Istanbul

Istanbul: Blue Mosque & Hagia Sophia Small-Group Tour
Join a small-group walking tour of the two most famous monuments in Istanbul: the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia. Benefit from pre-reserved tickets for the Hagia Sophia Enjoy a scenic stroll around Sultanahmet and witness the local life with a professional guide. Experience the splendor and charm of Islamic architecture in the Blue Mosque. Discover the history and culture of the Ottoman and Byzantine Empires. Get tips from your guide at the end of the tour to continue exploring Istanbul independently.

Price: €39

Min age: 0

Rating 4.48 / 5 [54 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Destination guides

1

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Istanbul

Marmara Region, Turkey

Large illuminated mosque at night with sea in background

Exotic, inexhaustible and dynamic – East meets West head-on in this mesmerising city metropolis, famed for its extraordinarily rich history, superb food and shopping, and mind-blowingly magnificent, over-sized mosques.

Round-ups

1

Round-ups that include this experience

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