You’re Mosque-ing Me Crazy (Istanbul, Turkey)
You can’t walk anywhere in Istanbul without seeing a mosque, the equivalent is the ubiquitous Southern Baptist church. They are not hard to miss, instead of the converted shopping center churches in the USA, the Mosques of Turkey are old, in fact very old. If the New Mosque is about 400 years old, you can imagine how old the others are. The most famous in Istanbul is the Blue Mosque or Sultanahmet Camii. If any TV program documents Istanbul, this is the mosque they show and I believe it is the 2nd largest mosque in the world (but don’t quote me on that).
It derives it’s name not from it’s exterior but the thousands of blue tiles that adorn it’s walls. Upon entering the red plush carpet in close proximation to a thousand sweaty feet, your sensory tour begins. Your eyes drift upwards toward Allah and you begin to admire the myriad of blue porcelain tiles (my Mother’s idea of Heaven or Mecca). Drifting in between the tiles are hundreds of stained glass windows like bits of broken rainbows frozen in time. All languages can be heard from Arabic to French to Turkish. If you are fortunate to be in the mosque during prayers (yes, they allow this), your ears will be overloaded with the rhythmic sounds of men and women devoted to Islam.
What is amazing about the Blue Mosque is that even the prayers are tourists here. They happily snap photos of themselves and their family within the walls.
Warning: Women’s hair and shoulders must be covered to enter and longs skirts or pants are required. If not, then you must wear the typhoid laden covers handed out enlarge supplies. Photos/videos are permitted while visiting.
Want more mosques? Try your Mosque-ing me Crazy in Thailand.