His love of Islam led to his creation of one of the most famous landmarks in Turkey, if not the world.
Although a mere thirteen years old when he became sultan it is recorded that Ahmet was so sure of his heritage, that he girded the sword of Osman on himself and stepped confidently to take his place on the throne. He also spared his brother Mustafa, aged nine and the only other male child of Mehmet III then alive. Mustafa was mentally deranged which may explain Ahmet’s behaviour. He sent Mustafa to live in the Old Palace (the first palace built by Mehmet Fatih after the conquest, then abandoned in favour of Topkapi. It was known as Eski Saray, the Old Palace, and used to house the overflow from the harem and members of the court no longer in favour when a new sultan took the throne) with his mother whose name is not known.
Ahmet was also a more religious person than his father and favoured the Incili Kösk, a very fine tiled pavilion in Topkapi Palace overlooking the Marmara Sea, as a place of prayer. Unfortunately the Kösk was home to Dallom’s famous organ and, two years into his reign, Ahmet ordered that it be dismantled and destroyed.
His love of Islam led to his creation of one of the most famous landmarks in Turkey, if not the world. In 1606 work started on the Sultan Ahmet mosque better known now as the Blue Mosque. He was to live to see it completed in 1616, but had little time to enjoy his creation as he died the following year and was buried in a large tomb next to the mosque that bears his name.
Ahmet’s death, believed to have been from typhus, caused a succession crisis. As we have seen, up to now the role of sultan had passed from father to son, but Ahmet’s oldest son, Osman, had only just turned 13 when his father died and the Imperial Council decided he was too young to become sultan. Accordingly, they decreed the role should go to Ahmet’s brother, Mustafa, who was then 25 years old and had spent the 14 years of Ahmet’s reign under ‘house arrest’ in the Old Palace. As we shall see a somewhat chaotic period in the Empire is about to get underway.