Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque
Built by Mehmet Aga (a pupil of Sinan’s) for Sultan Ahmet I and completed in 1616, the Sultanahmet Mosque quickly became known as the Blue Mosque, owing to the profusion of blue Iznik tiles that cover much of its interior. The six minarets with which Mehmet Aga furnished the mosque were a cause of controversy, as the Grand Mosque at Mecca, the holiest site in Islam, also had six at the time. A tad too assuming on Ahmet I’s part, perhaps, but he was possibly the most pious of sultans and even attempted to ban alcohol within the Empire – never a popular move. The Blue Mosque’s interior lacks the elegance, gracefulness and engineering genius of either the Hagia Sophia or the Süleymaniye. The dome here is far more obviously supported by the thick pillars, thus spoiling the conceit of a sacred, inhumanly wrought architecture. It is still pretty impressive from the outside, though, and Sultan Ahmet’s legacy lives on in the district’s assumed name: Sultanahmet.