I might be the only tourist who didn’t see the inside of the Blue Mosque, one of Istanbul’s most iconic landmarks. Not from lack of trying. But it seems that every time I tried to go, there happened to be dozens of cruise ship and big tour groups clogging the entrance. I couldn’t be bothered.

Inside of Rustem Pasha mosque

Inside of Rustem Pasha mosque

But I did see a blue mosque. A very blue mosque. In fact my guide told me that it’s even blue-er than what many visitors call the Blue Mosque (locals refer to it by its official name Sultan Ahmet Mosque).

The Rustem Pasha Mosque

Stepping foot inside Rustem Pasha mosque felt like stepping into an aquarium. It’s a small mosque tucked in a busy market near Eminonou, with intricate blue Iznik tiles covering all columns and walls, pretty much all surface except for the roof.

When it comes to tile works, Rustem Pasha mosque has pulled out all the stops.

rustem pasha mosque tilesrustom pasha tiles

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Even the porch outside of the mosque is covered in these painted blue and turqoise tiles. A security guard is around 24 hours because the tile is worth so much that people would try to steal them.

Outside of Rustem Pasha mosque

Outside of Rustem Pasha mosque

There’s only so many mosques I can take in and I’m glad Rustem Pasha was one of them. It took some hunting around to find it but it’s definitely worth the effort.

Rustem Pasha

TIP: Underneath the mosque is a GREAT restaurant serving hamsi tava (fried sardine)

Thanks to from Salih of Secrets of Istanbul, without him I would not have heard of this mosque.