Read, Write, Run, Roam

(Blue) Mosque on Sunday, Istanbul

Ferry view of Blue Mosque, Old City Istanbul

Muz and I just returned from an amazing Thanksgiving holiday in Istanbul, known for its famous Blue Mosque. The Blue Mosque is actually called the Sultan Ahmet Mosque, but earned its nickname due to the the predominant blue color of the tiles and domes inside. It’s also known for its six minarets that dominate the Istanbul skyline.

Central Dome of Blue Mosque

Muz and I know little about mosques, and what we knew about this one was based on a page in our guide book. So we agreed to a tour offered by an older local. Who, it turned out, also knew little about the architecture or history of the place. We decided to go to Wikipedia for the hard facts and asked him about services instead.

The Sultan's lodge in the Blue Mosque

He graciously answered our unsophisticated questions, such as: Do men and women have separate entrances? (Yes.) Where does the imam preach? (The minbar, atop a carved staircase) How do people pray in perfect lines? (Subtle aisles weaved into the carpet). After our well-intentioned interrogation, he spoke to a mosque volunteer and brought muz up to the front of the room (reserved for worshippers) to show him details up close.

We walked away 10 lira poorer and no smarter about the Blue Mosque, but with a richer understanding of daily prayer for most of Istanbul.


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