…or Sultan Ahmet Camii.(built in 1609-16) The mosque takes its name from the blue tiles made in the town of Iznik (formerly known as Nicaea in the antiquity). It remains one of the most famous religious buildings in the world. The entrance from the Hippodrome leading into the courtyard that is of equal size with the prayer hall itself. The chain hanging across the entrance had the purpose of forcing people on horseback, like the Sultan himself) to bow their heads or dismount from their high horses before entering the mosque, figuratively as well as literally. The Ablotion Fountain in the middle of the courtyard is framed by the graceful cascade of domes and semidomes of the mosque. (These domes will be the subject of the next enrty.) One of the famous six minarets, today equipped with loudspeakers.Each minaret has two or three intricately decorated balconies with carved stone. The courtyard is surrounded on all four sides by an arched, domed covered walkway. The 17th century minbar is intricately carved in white marble. It is used by the imam during prayers on Friday. 4 thick piers support the weight of the domes. This is a working mosque and it is not easy to find a quite spot among the hordes ot tourists to do one's praying. The interior is decorated with 20000 blue tiles from Iznik.