One of the things Istanbul is most famous for is its many breathtaking mosques. These amazing mosques are just as impressive and beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside.

The mosques are closed during prayer times and in many there are separate prayer areas for men and women. Many of the mosques have a cover over the door, this doesn’t mean they are shut at all.

With the amazing beauty of these breathtaking mosques it is easy to get carried away taking photos. Please always remember that these are places of worship and always be respectful.

Suleymaniye mosque

Suleymaniye mosque in Istanbul
Suleymaniye mosque in Istanbul

Suleymaniye is the second largest mosque in the city, and in my opinion the one with the most beautiful courtyard. You do not need to cover your hair in the courtyard area, just when you are inside the actual mosque. We went at 09:00 which is opening time and it was very quiet and peaceful.

Suleymaniye, a breathtaking mosque
The courtyard of Suleymaniye mosque

Şehzade Mosque

Inside Sehzade mosque
Inside Sehzade mosque

This mosque is located close to the Grand Bazar but surprisingly isn’t very touristy. The inside is stunning and the light feature stands out as an amazing centrepiece.

Amazing light feature inside this breathtaking mosque
Light fixture in Sehzade mosque in Istanbul

Ortakoy Mosque

Ortakoy mosque
Exterior of Ortakoy mosque

This was our favourite mosque in Istanbul! Ortaköy Mosque (Büyük Mecidiye Mosque) is a small but beautiful on the Bosporus Strait. It is on a platform that extends into the water, making it unusual. The inside includes many grand chandeliers and a green, orange and gold colour scheme.

This breathtaking mosque is outside of the city centre. We took the tram to Kabatas and from there walked for around 40 minutes to get there. You can also take the 22, 25E, or 30D bus.

If you visit on a Sunday there is a craft market that takes place nearby. Also be aware that BJK İnönü Stadium is close so there will be lots of football fans around if it a match day.

This mosque is also near top hotels like The Four Seasons and The Kempinski and other tourist attractions like Dolmabahçe Palace and Yildiz Park.

Buyuk Mecidiye mosque
Buyuk Mecidiye mosque
Impressive ceiling in Ortakoy mosque
Impressive ceiling in Ortakoy mosque

Blue Mosque

Outside the Blue mosque
Outside the Blue mosque

The Blue mosque (Sultanahmet Camii) is the most famous mosque in Istanbul and is located on the main square opposite Hagia Sofia. Its name comes from the blue wall tiles that are all hand painted.

The unique feature of having 6 minarets is said to be due to the architect mishearing gold and taking it for 6. altın minareler (gold minarets) as altı minare (six minarets).

This photo was taken at 06:30, this is the only time that it is possible to get a good photo without crowds of people photobombing. The previous day we went to the main square later and even at 09:00 this area is very busy. We decided not to go inside the actual mosque because it was being renovated.

Dress code

Inside the most breathtaking mosque, Ortakoy
Dress code at Ortakoy mosque

There are dress codes for these places of worship which are displayed at the entrance. Men must always make sure their shoulders and knees are covered and must take off their shoes before entering the mosque. Women must do the same but also need to have their hair covered. A head scarf can be borrow from the mosque but I brought my own from the Grand Bazar as it was also a nice souvenir.

These are just the breathtaking mosques in Istanbul. There are many more things to see in Istanbul in this article: 48 hours in Istanbul: 8 Memorable things you must see!

Visited: early May 2019