A favorite of believers and tourists alike
In the beginning of the 17th century, Sultan Ahmed I decreed the construction of arguably the most magnificent mosque in Istanbul. Even from outside, the building’s gradually piled domes and six minarets makes a powerful impression (only the Grand Mosque in Mecca, with nine, has more minarets). In fact, once one is inside, the effect increases in intensity -- this is also where it gains its nickname, "the Blue Mosque." A multitude of blue and white tiles decorate the walls, platforms, and domes, from which huge chandeliers hang down almost to the carpet on the floor. As in all Islamic houses of worship, one may enter only without shoes (for tourists, there is a separate entrance). The light, filtered through 260 stained glass windows, contributes to the enchanting mood of this oriental architectural jewel.