Smithsonian Journeys Dispatches

Photo: Golden Istanbul

Istanbul at Sunset

Istanbul's famed Blue Mosque incorporates Byzantine elements with classical Ottoman architecture.

From its Roman remains to its magnificent mosques, Istanbul's landscape features stunning cultural monuments. The Sultan Ahmen Mosque, more commonly known in the Western world as the Blue Mosque, is the national mosque of Turkey. Built between 1609 and 1619 during the reign of Ahmed I, the mosque features 6 minarets (of which five are pictured above). Not to be outdone by its splendid exterior, the interior is richly decorated with more than 20,000 hand-made ceramic tiles from Iznik. No visit to Turkey is complete without a stop at the incomparable Blue Mosque.

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