Wow. I completely forgot to write about this. My apologies…considering we were there in August and it is now January. My bad!
The Blue Mosque is one of the most famous icons of Istanbul, although many locals have told us that Süleymaniye Mosque may be a worthier trip. It is right across the way from the Hagia Sophia, which means you have a pretty darn good view when standing in between the two. Minarets, much?
Speaking of minarets (those pointy spires), the Blue Mosque has 6, whereas most have only 4. And 8 (that’s right, 8!) domes!
In fact, 17th century architect Sedefkâr Mehmet Ağa purposefully designed the mosque so that if you look skyward as you approach from the Hippodrome, the domes seem to fall on each other, one upon the other.
|From the courtyard of the Blue Mosque.|
The courtyard (known as the avlu) is typical of imperial mosques. Only the sultan could enter the courtyard on horseback, and was reminded of this by the hanging chain that would require him to bow his head upon entering. Even the sultan’s gotta stay humble, amirite!?
|Courtyard of the Blue Mosque|
So why is it called the blue mosque? Actually, because of some tiles that are located in a hard-to-see spot in the interior. (We couldn’t see them.) There’s a lot of other gorgeous blue in the mosque, though.
|Sorry for the glare, but can you see how big this candelabra is?|
Unlike the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque is still a working mosque. Five times a day, the call to prayer rings out throughout the city (adhan) from loudspeakers on the minarets. The call to prayer is led by a special man called a muezzin. He is responsible for keeping track of the prayer schedules and singing the call to prayer, which summons practicing Muslims to the mosque. The adhan proclaims the Islamic creed, called the shahada, which translates basically to: There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God.
|Again with the colors, people!|
|I don’t remember where this is from, but it is pretty!|
Although I do not understand the words in the call to prayer, I like hearing it throughout the day echoing through the bustle of the city. I think it is something I will miss when I leave here.