Blue Mosque, Istanbul

Sultanahmet Camii (‘C’ is pronounced like ‘j’ in ‘jockey’), better known as the Blue Mosque after its intricate blue-tiled decorations, is the first and the last place I visited in Istanbul. (The airport doesn’t count, no. They usually don’t.)

The Blue Mosque was built between 1609 and 1616, during the rule of Ahmed I (hence the name Sultanahmet Camii), and on the site of the palace of Byzantine emperors and the hippodrome, facing Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya in Turkish).

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Silent Blue

This is one of my favourite photos, if not the favourite from the great Mosque.

Amazing inside

 

Mosque lights series DSC_0069

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Mosque carpets. Not the expensive, hand-woven kind, I imagine, though I’m not an expert, but still wonderfully soft on our bare feet.

Multitudes of visitors inside the mosque

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   This is the space for prayers, from the other side of the barrier for visitors. The space for women was yet on the other side, towards the back of the mosque.

Men praying

Detail of decoration inside the Mosque

 

 

The Mosque at night

These were taken from the terrace of our hotel, which was very close to the Blue Mosque. So close that our room resounded with the call to prayer, or so it felt when we were in it. I grew to like the mesmerising sounds.

According to Wikipedia, until recently the muezzin had to climb a narrow spiral minaret staircase five times a day to announce the call to prayer. Today, a sound system is used.

 

Yet another view of the Mosque, this time from behind, i.e. not from the little streets behind the mosque. This was taken on a very cloudy day, from a restaurante terrace.

 

Leaving the Mosque. Note the people sitting on the grass in the right hand corner. That was a common sight, people having a picnic in Hippodrome, the great Byzantine square near the mosque, or like here around the mosque, in the gardens towards Aya Sofia and Topkapi Palace.

Looking back at the Mosque from Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya in Turkish), our next destination.

 

To be continued…

 

 

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