Istanbul was the capital of three different empires, and this is something you can perceive in the grandeur it spreads. Its strategic location between two continents has allowed it to preserve its history and culture, and it can boast of having more than 3,000 mosques; supposedly one per street. If you are planning to visit them, we are going to tell you which mosques in Istanbul you should visit.
Istanbul’s most impressive mosques
If you have never had the opportunity to travel to Turkey, you may not know it, but the Muslim religion is very tolerant of it. The proof of this mentality is that it is possible to visit the mosques of Istanbul, or at least the vast majority of them. In addition, entry is completely free, although you can leave a donation there upon exit.
The only condition is that we respect their rules. This means leaving the shoes at the entrance or carrying them in a bag, and as you might expect, women have to cover their hair and shoulders. While you can be provided with something to cover up on-site, the most convenient way to visit mosques in Istanbul is to wear a headscarf. It is also necessary to act as in any other place of worship, with respect and discretion. Below, we present the mandatory stops.
The Blue Mosque or Sultan Ahmed Camii
Besides the largest and most visited mosque, is considered to be one of the most beautiful mosques in Istanbul. Its most remarkable characteristics are the symmetry of proportions and the exclusivity of having six minarets. Its construction dates back to the 17th century by Sultan Ahmed.
When entering inside, we immediately understod the reason for its name, namely that the dome is 23 meters in diameter and that the top of the mosque adorned with more than 20,000 blue tiles. Plus, light-flooded lamps and stained glass windows ensure this work of art shines with sunlight.
Another of Istanbul’s most famous mosques is that of Hagia Sophia, which was originally a church. Built between 532 and 537, it clearly represents Byzantine art. Less than a century ago, in 1935, it transformed into a museum, which is why you have to pay entry.
Although less popular, its dome measures 30 meters in diameter and is larger than that of the Blue Mosque; in 1453, when it was taken over by the Ottoman Empire, the four minarets were built.
Inside, large medallions, glass mosaics, and majestic marble columns impart incomparable grandeur. The legend says that if we turn our thumb clockwise while inserting it into the Column of Wishes, ours will be fulfilled.
Little Hagia Sophia
She has this name because the appearance of the two is very similar! but as you can intuitively guess, she is smaller. In addition, originally also it was a church, which was converted into one of the mosques in Istanbul by order of Justinian.
Although it is not very special, it is very close to Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, and since it is the only one that allows you to climb the upper gallery, its visit is another mandatory stop on our itinerary.
In the immediate vicinity of the Spice Bazaar! in the Eminönu district, is one of Istanbul’s most photographed mosques by tourists. Although the name suggests that it is new construction! was started in 1957 and its completion was extended due to difficulties encountered due to the proximity to the sea.
Despite these problems, it is today one of the most beautiful mosques in the city. High arches, stained glass windows, tiles, and a marble and gold interior complete this magnificent work of art that you cannot miss.
This cultural and religious center must be included in the list of essential mosques on a trip to Istanbul, as its the first to be built. There is the tomb of Mehmet II Fatih, an Ottoman sultan who conquered Constantinople. The decoration was inspired by the Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan.
The last of our Istanbul mosques has the most beautiful panoramic view. Its construction was in the hands of the architect Sinan, who has seen the result, wanted to be buried there. It is located in the hills of the Golden Horn, a natural harbor between the old town and the modern part of the capital.
Istanbul mosques reflect the country’s history and culture. Authentic monuments that will amaze you throughout your trip.