It was built from 1609 to 1616, during the rule of Ahmed I. Like many other mosques, it also comprises a tomb of the founder, a madrasah and a hospice. While still used as a mosque, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque has also become a popular tourist attraction.
The design of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque is the culmination of two centuries of both Ottoman mosque and Byzantine church development. It incorporates some Byzantine elements of the neighboring Hagia Sophia with traditional Islamic architecture and is considered to be the last great mosque of the classical period. The architect has ably synthesized the ideas of his master Sinan, aiming for overwhelming size, majesty and splendour.
Sultan Ahmed Mosque, known as the Blue Mosque by many tourists because of its bluish interior decoration, is the most important mosque of Istanbul standing next to the Byzantine Hippodrome in the old city center. It was built by the Ottoman sultan Ahmed I between 1609 - 1616 facing Hagia Sophia, in order to compete with it. Its architect was Sedefkar Mehmet Aga, a poet and inlayer as well, and a student of the greatest architect Sinan. At the time it was built, it apparently evoked a lot of hostility, because the grandeur and the number of minarets rivaled the architecture of Mecca itself, a great sacrilege. When Ahmed I died in 1617, he was buried near the mosque and a mausoleum was built over his tomb.
In Turkey, the mosques may have 1, 2, 4 or 6 minarets, which designates the size and importance of the mosque. Only the Blue Mosque has 6 minarets (though only 4 are visible here, with the other 2 behind me). The minarets serve a dual purpose of providing a visual cue that the building is a mosque, and also providing a vantage point for the call to prayers