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A Visit to the Blue Mosque – Istanbul, Turkey
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A Visit to the Blue Mosque – Istanbul, Turkey

by mccownFebruary 10, 2016
This entry is part 11 of 13 in the series Turkey/Portugal

We headed to the Blue Mosque first thing one morning to try to avoid the crowds as much as possible. Luckily for us non-morning people, the famous mosque was only a few blocks from where we were staying.

 

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The Blue Mosque (also known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque) was built between 1609 and 1616, and made bigger and higher than its across-the-street neighbor, Hagia Sophia (then a church, currently a mosque), in an effort to show Islam’s dominance over Christianity. The Blue Mosque’s facade is relatively plain-looking, with the type of architecture we’ve come to expect in a mosque: a huge dome with a number of minarets and spires surrounding it. The inside, though, is why it’s known as the Blue Mosque: because the drawings and designs are mostly blue. It was really pretty– I especially loved the attention to detail inside all of the buildings (covering the ceiling and dome). There are more than 20,000 ceramic tiles on the ceiling.

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This was both Jeffrey’s and my first time visiting a mosque. The floor plan is a large, open, carpeted area covering most of the interior, with a small, fenced-in area along the back for women and non-Muslim visitors. Because the Blue Mosque is a little different than less-touristy/less famous mosques, the area open to visitors was much larger and the guards weren’t quite as strict on appropriate attire: many women tourists did not have their hair covered and, though signs told us it was very much required, those women weren’t harassed until they covered up.

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The Blue Mosque is one of Istanbul’s most visited sites and is definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in the beautiful, historic city.

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