April 01, 2011

Many minarets stretching up to the sky

There is a legend that the architect of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Sedefkâr Mehmet Ağa, misunderstood the request of the Ottoman sultan of the time, Ahmet I, who had apparently asked for “golden” (“altın”) minarets, and instead heard “six” (“altı”) minarets.


The two words sounds very similar in Turkish. The total combined number of 16 balconies placed on these minarets were supposed to show that Ahmed I was the 16th sultan in the line of Ottoman rulers. However, according to Ottoman history, Sultan Ahmed I was in fact the 14th such ruler. This difference was the result of not counting the rules of the two sons of Yıldırım Beyazit, Emir Süleyman and Musa Çelebi, during the Ottoman Interregnum.

This is just two of the stories circulating about this famous mosque. But there is one fact that is known for sure, and that is that the Blue Mosque is the first and only six-minaret mosque to be ordered built by an Ottoman sultan and his family. However, it is not the only mosque in Turkey to boast six minarets. There are two other mosques that share this distinction in Turkey: Adana’s Sabancı Mosque and Mersin’s Mikdat Mosque.

Read more on Today's Zaman: Many minarets stretching up to the sky

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