There are more than 3000 mosques in Istanbul, true historical relics that you cannot miss on a visit to Turkey. Meet some of them!

The privileged location made Istanbul become one of the most important cities in world history. Ancient Constantinople, which was exactly on the crossing from Asia to Europe, in Turkey, was once the capital of the Byzantine, Roman and Ottoman empires.

Much of this rich history, divided between Christians and Muslims, is intact and can be enjoyed. Just look at the skyline of Istanbul and there they are, the domes of the city's mosques. There are more than 3100 mosques in Istanbul and, contrary to what many people think, some of them are open to visitors.

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With their imposing minarets, a type of tower where you can hear the call to prayers, the mosques are true historical relics and cannot be left out of your itinerary on a trip to Turkey. Know the impressive mosques to visit in istanbul and schedule your visit!

Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii)

Photo: sunmax / Pixabay

the majestic Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii or Blue Mosque) is one of the main and most respected symbols of Istanbul – proof of this is that its image is stamped in several advertisements and billboards throughout the city.

Located in the Sultanahmet district, the imposing building impresses with its six minarets, which can be seen from different parts of the city. Built between 1607 and 1616 during the reign of Ahmet I, the Blue Mosque it was strategically positioned opposite the Aya Sofia, an obvious way to rival the power of Islam over Christianity.

The blue of the name was not given for nothing: the interior of the mosque is full of tiles that cover its walls in bluish tones. There are also mosaics on the walls in which this color predominates, as well as paintings on the dome and a beautiful rug that covers its floor. During periods of high season, tourist access is carried out through a different door from the faithful, so as not to disturb the prayers.

Süleymaniye Mosque (Süleymaniye Camii)

Photo: Engin_Akyurt / Pixabay

THE Süleymaniye embellishes the highest of the seven hills of Istanbul and presents the tourist with a grandiose architectural work. Due to its privileged location, it is possible to get an incredible view of the Golden Horn, an estuary that divides the European side of the city of Istanbul.

THE Süleymaniye Mosque was built between the years 1550 and 1557, during the reign of the Sultan Süleyman I the Magnificent, one of the most important Ottoman monarchs. Completed in just seven years and designed by a famous architect of the time, Mimar Sinan, it is considered a true landmark of Turkish engineering. The space has an impressive 4,500 meters in total area, which makes it the second largest mosque in the city, after the Blue Mosque.

THE Süleymaniye It has 4 minarets, the tallest being 74 meters. Everyone remembers the fact that Sultan Süleyman was the fourth sultan after the conquest of Istanbul. Its interior, despite having a decoration not as impressive as other mosques in the city, has beautiful rugs on the floor and beautiful Iznik tiles.

Hagia Sophia (Haghia Sofia)

Photo: lapping / Pixabay

THE Hagia Sophia's Basilica It is one of Istanbul's main historical sites and one that you should not miss. It was built between 531 and 537 by Emperor Justinian I to reassert the power of Rome and Christianity. After the fall of Constantinople in 1453 by the Muslims, it was turned into a mosque. Fortunately, much of its original beauty has been retained, but adapted with large minarets on its exterior.  

Transformed into a museum, the basilica has some treasures worth admiring, such as a gigantic central vault and gold-plated mosaics. There are also domes and painted walls that will delight visitors.

Beside Hagia Sophia Another great work by Justinian is found, the Basilica Cistern. The construction used to supply the Topkapi Palace and has an impressive capacity of 30 million liters of water, in addition to occupying an area of more than 10 thousand square meters.

Nuruosmaniye Mosque

Photo: Arild Vågen / Wikimedia Commons

THE Nuruosmaniye Mosque is a typical mosque with baroque architecture, very popular within the Ottoman Empire. The mosque was built by Sultan Osman III in 1755 on one of Istanbul's seven hills.

With two minarets, each with two balconies, it has a single dome and no columns inside the prayer hall, which is raised by two giant arches. There is incredible work in this space, which brings together several ornaments on its main walls.

With many windows, the mosque is very bright, justifying the name of the mosque: Nuruosmaniye means "The Light of Osman". The Mosque has a library of thousands of manuscripts from the Sultans. Unfortunately, this section is closed to the public and only researchers have access.

New Mosque (Yeni Camii)

Photo: Adel HEDHILI / Wikimedia Commons

Despite the name, the new mosque It has already been 400 years old since its construction, which began in 1597 on the orders of the mother of Sultan Mehmet III. It took 68 long years until it was completed in 1665 by the mother of Sultan Mehmet IV, so it is the longest-running mosque in Istanbul's history.

The time to finally be erected was long, but it was worth it. Inside, the new mosque features rich decor with marble, gold accents and the famous Isnik tiles. In addition there is a beautiful rug and a large vaulted ceiling.

Yeni Camii, which is located opposite the Galata Bridge and next to the Spice Bazaar, has two minarets and 66 domes. The space also houses the tombs of six sultans and other personalities of the empire.

How to behave on a visit to Istanbul's mosques

Despite being open for visitation, the Istanbul mosques they are sacred and prayerful places. Some attitudes can be understood as disrespectful, so it doesn't hurt to follow some rules to avoid embarrassment.

  • To enter any of the mosques, shoes must be removed. The mosques themselves usually provide plastic bags to store shoes during the visit.
  • You should not enter the Mosques with short clothes, such as shorts or dresses, nor with clothes that leave the shoulders exposed or with low necklines.
  • Women must cover their heads and shoulders with a scarf. In most mosques, the scarf is offered for the visit.  
  • Pay attention to the visiting hours of each mosque, as some close during prayer times.  
  •  As it is a place of prayers, it is recommended to speak quietly and avoid making noise.
  •  Flash photos are not allowed.

Are you thinking of visiting Turkey for the first time and see the mosques of Istanbul? Meet the agency guide in turkey which offers exclusive tours of Turkish destinations, with guides who speak Portuguese and know every special corner of the country. The agency also does all the advice before and during the trip, facilitating the service with personalized tours according to your profile.

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» 6 amazing tours to do in Istanbul
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