Sunday, 23 October 2016

SULTAN AHMAD MASJID - TEXT

SULTAN AHMAD MASJID

(v) 
     The Sultan Ahmad Masjid is one of the most impressive monuments in the world. It is also known as Blue Masjid because of the blue tiles that embellish its interior. Situated in Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey and the capital of Ottoman Empire from 1453 to 1923, it has become the most popular tourist attraction.
(vi) 
     It was constructed between 1609 and 1616, during the rule of Ahmad I. As was the custom, this masjid like other masajid of the time, comprises a tomb of the founder, a madrassha and a hospice.
     Construction of the masjid started in 1609. The royal architect Sedefhar Mehmat Aga, was appointed by the Sultan as in-charge of the project. The opening ceremony was held in 1616. Unfortunately, the Sultan could not see the completion of the masjid in his life. It was completed in the reign of his successor Mustafa I.
(vii) 
     Blue Masjid reflects the architectural style of both Ottoman masjid and Byzentine church. Hagia Sophia, a masjid, one of the wonders of Muslim architecture, was also kept in view as a model. Blue Masjid even today is considered to be unmatched in splendour, majesty and size.
(viii) 
     The masjid has a spacious forecourt surrounded by a continuous vaulted arcade. It has ablution facilities on both sides. In the centre there is a fountain which is rather small in contrast with the magnitude of the courtyard. A heavy iron chain hangs in the upper part of the court entrance on the western side. This side was meant for the Sultan alone. The chain was put there so that the Sultan had to lower his head every time he entered the court. It was the symbolic gesture to ensure the humility of the ruler in the face of the divine.
(ix) 
     The interior of the masjid at the lower level is lined with more than 20,000 hand-made ceramic tiles in more than 50 different tulip designs. At gallery level the design becomes flamboyant with representation of flowers, fruit and cypresses.
     The upper level of the interior is adorned with blue paint. More than 200 stained glass windows with intricate designs allow natural light to brighten up its interior and the chandeliers further illuminate it with their glow. The decorations include A'yat from the Holy Quran. The floors are covered with carpets.
(x) 
     The most important element in the interior of the masjid is the mehrab, which is made of finely carved marble. To the right of the mehrab is a richly decorated pulpit. The masjid is so designed that even when it is most crowded, everyone in the masjid can hear and see the Imam.
     The royal room is situated at the south east corner. It has its own pulpit that used to be decorated with jade and roses.
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     The Blue Masjid has six minarets. Four minarets stand one each at the four corners of the masjid. Each of these pencil shaped minarets has three balconies, while the other two at the end of the forecourt have only two balconies.
(xii)
     In the evening, a large number of tourists and Turks gather in the park facing the masjid to hear the call of the evening namaz. The masjid is flooded with lights and so are the hearts of the believers with divine love. Though much has been lost of Blue Masjid over the years yet it has not lost the love of its visitors. The masjid is still one of the most frequently visited monuments of the world. 

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