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The Blue Mosque was the result of a bit of one-upmanship by Sultan Ahmet I, who was determined to build an edifice that would outshine Emperor Justinian's paean to Christendom, the Aya Sophia. The Blue Mosque is a triumph of harmony, proportion and elegance.

The best way to approach the mosque is to go out to the Hippordrome and approach the mosque from its front. Walk through the gate in the peripheral wall. A series of domes, starting with the one atop the gate, ripple upwards, drawing the viewer's eye ever-closer to heaven, an effect that the architect, Mehmet Aga, fully intended. The main dome crowns the whole, with a forest of smaller domes clustered around it. The getting-closer-to-Allah effect is reinforced by pencil-thin minarets, also reaching skyward, surrounding the domes.

The Ottoman design is carried through to the ablution fountains in the centre of the courtyards, the arabesques painted on the domes, the blue Iznik tiles (hence the mosque's name) that line the interior walls, and, although only replacements, the luminous stained-glass windows that filter the outside light.

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Blue Iznik tiles that adorn the interior of the mosque, giving it its name
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A beautiful view of the Blue Mosque from Hagia Sophia, which is located across the street from it. This photo (as well as the one at the top of the page) is from a tourist book.
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