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Turkish architecture pride - Blue Mosque and Aya Sofya

Istanbul, Turkey, Blue Mosque and the Bosphorus

The Sultan Ahmet Mosque in Istanbul is also called the Blue Mosque because of the many blue tiles that cover the exterior of the mosque. The building was commissioned by Sultan Ahmet I. built between 1609 and 1616 and is directly opposite the Hagia Sophia .

The architect of the mosque was Sedefhar Mehmet Aga. He built a central dome with a diameter of 33 meters, surrounded by a number of sub-domes, which together form a layered descending order. The mosque is completely symmetrically constructed, with all attention focused on the central dome.

The exterior of the mosque is partially covered with blue Iznik tiles from the town. The interior of the mosque is decorated with over 20,000 hand-painted blue, green and red-brown tiles and in the courtyard of the building, the striking blue tiles. Furthermore it is the niche in the wall, which indicates the direction of prayer, which is remarkable for the carved sculptures that are inside it.

Around the mosque are six minarets, which a large number for that time. With the amount minarets gave the client how rich he was. The Islamic world was not very happy with the six minarets around the Blue Mosque because the Kaaba Mosque in Mecca also had six. Sultan Ahmet the first solved this problem by the Kaaba seventh minaret gift.
The domed Aya Sofia, also called Hagia Sophia, is in the old European city center, the Turkish city of Istanbul. The name of the church means sacred wisdom.

At the spot where the building is now, first were two other churches at the time of the Byzantine Empire around 330 by Emperor Constantine cathedral. In 404 this first building was set on fire resulting from political and religious unrest. Shortly after the church was rebuilt, but this building was not safe for the rebellious people and it was 532 like its predecessor, burned down.

The third and final church was opened under the Emperor Justinian and built by the architects of Anthemius Tralles and Isidore of Miletus in 537. They were ordered to build a church with no other church to be compared with and even where in addition to church services were made the political issues.

Hagia Sophia is the beginning of a new direction in the early Christian architecture. The building was very large and complicated to build. The designers have made very precise measurements and had a great architectural understanding of terms and construction expertise. The basis of the construction of the church and opposing forces are in balance as the dome seems to float in between. In fact, this is an illusion, because the grid is almost invisible by the many marble decorations and sunlight.

When Aya Sofia was built were used materials made of stone, brick, marble and mortar, plus iron and wood for the clamps and scaffolds. The combination of marble colonnades and arches of brick comes from the construction of the Roman Empire in Italy. The material is based on the local architecture in Asia Minor at the time of the Romans. The ship of the church is 78 by 72 meters. The dome has a diameter of 31 meters and 62 meters in height.

Besides of the functional style of the architectures is also aesthetically pleasing. They played with light and space in the huge building. Especially under the umbrella of the believer could experience a heavenly sensation. All walls and vaults were mosaic decorated. In the sixth century, that abstract images and crosses, from the nineteenth century was worked with figurative mosaics. The emperors put much money into the church and then came to a point too imperial portraits hang and include pictures of some saints.

In 558 of the old dome collapsed and there was made a new building, to design Isidore de Jonge inside the building has gave its distinctive appearance. It was rebuilt after several earthquakes.

Hagia Sophia was increasingly a place where individual believers were going to pray. The church had a lot of doors and stairs to provide access to people within her. Furthermore, the church was long the center of Eastern Christianity and had an important ceremonial function.

In 1453 Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Empire and the church was converted into a mosque. There were another four minarets built on. On the pillars in the church were large round plates with Arabic texts to hang. The last major renovation to the building took place between 1847 and 1849 by the Swiss Fossati brothers. Since 1931, the Hagia Sophia is a museum.