The Sultan Ahmet Mosque which is now known as the blue Mosque because it is famous for its beautiful blue tile work ornamenting the interior walls. I visited this mosque in February and recommend this as one of your places to visit during your trip to Istanbul. I originally planned to visit two different mosques this day but ended up spending so much time at this beautiful mosque!
Sultan Ahmet Mosque is considered to be the last great mosque of the ottoman classical period. With its traditional Islamic architecture, Sultanahmet is one of the most popular and important tourist attractions in Istanbul.
It is still used as a mosque as I found out when I visited at prayer time, it actually turned out the best time to go to see all the citizens of Istanbul going in for their daily prayer, which made the visit even more interesting. During prayer times you can only go into the grounds of the mosque and not actually inside the working mosque. Visiting hours are as shown below:
As expected with any mosque there is a dress code so make sure you are dressed for the occasion, the dress code includes being covered, for example in jeans or trousers rather than a dress or skirt. Also when you go into the mosque ladies must wear a headscarf provided or put your own scarf over your head covering your hair. I used my own scarf as I was wearing one anyway because it was in February and absolutely freezing!
When you go into the mosque you can read all about the Islam religion and see the routine for prayer times. You can visit the mosque for a prayer at prayer times even if you are not Muslim, but pictures are not allowed during prayer hours.
The architecture and culture in this mosque is amazing and is a must see in Istanbul, you can also sit and have lunch by the fountain after overlooking the mosque!