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Exploring the Architectural Wonder of Istanbul's Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque is located in Istanbul, Turkey. It is an architectural masterpiece constructed and preserved since the Ottoman Empire. Its unique design, both structurally and within its interior, makes it an attraction for people worldwide.

The mosque was built as a statement piece for the Ottoman Empire's achievements and greatness. During the building process, Ahmed I declared that if anyone did not win a war, they would not partake in the building process. Due to this statement, there were many wars. Later, when the Ottoman-Safavid war occurred, the Ottomans had to give back many territories to the Persians. When they gave back these territories to the Persians, there was a debate about building the mosque because people thought it was inappropriate or violated the Divine Laws as the treasury financed the mosque instead of the war riches.

Nonetheless, in 1609, the mosque's construction began, which occurred during a time with several complications, such as drought, famine, and the absence of military victories. As these problems occurred, Ahmed, I wanted to leave a positive legacy, so he was uninterested in other duties and activities happening in the kingdom. Instead, he wanted to ensure the mosque was more significant than the Hagia Sophia and Suleymaniye.

The Blue Mosque design has six minarets, one of them on each of the four corners. The other two minarets are slightly shorter and can be found on the outer edge of the mosque. The temple's courtyard can be approached in three different ways. When a person walks in from one of the doorways, they will see an outer colonnade of granite columns. Beyond the columns, on the roof, they will see 30 small domes. Four massive columns are in the middle of the mosque to support the dome. Lastly, the mosque has 260 windows.

Inside the Blue Mosque, ceramic work from the Iznik factories is displayed across the building. Some of the ceramic work can be found in the mihrab. A mihrab is a niche in a wall that is a highly decorated piece of the mosque. Additionally, a person might even see verses from the Quran. Some of the ceramic work has various shades of blue. The blue in and outside of the mosque is what gives the mosque its name. If a person closely inspects the ceramic work, different colors can be found. Lastly, looking down there, you will see primarily a thick, deep red carpet.

The mosque is a beautiful place with a rich history. People visit the Blue Mosque to embrace its beauty and have a safe space for prayer.

[Source: 100 Great Wonders of the World, Boston College]

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