Life on the Mekong and Other Rivers

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog, including strong statements in support of weinerdog-riding monkeys, are our own, and not those of the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. government.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Blue Mosque

It's not very blue on the outside. The name, however, is actually Sultan Ahmet Camii. It gained the name 'Blue Mosque' thanks to the beautiful blue iznik tiles on the inside. So, there you go.

The mosque played a central role in our weekend, as it was between our hotel and basically anywhere else we went, so we saw it from many different angles at all times day and night. It's pretty impressive, as far as huge, 17th century mosques go.

It was a bit controversial when it was first built because many thought that, by giving it 6 minarets, the builders and Sultan Ahmet were trying to rival the grandeur of the Great Mosque in Mecca (or something like that).

Either way, the Sultan got himself quite a mosque there in Istanbul.

Those going in for prayer are first supposed to go through their ablutions, washing their feet, hands, face, whatonot. As a large mosque catering to many people, the Blue Mosque has plenty of spigots for the faithful.

Pre-prayer ablutions.

No photo does the interior justice, but here's a taste. It was very beautiful, light and airy, with the sun shining through the myriad stained glass windows. The sun through the windows reminded me a bit of St. Chappelle in Paris, but, you know, bigger. The large chandeliers hung just above the heads of the tallest visitors, but were suspended from hundreds of cables hung from the very high ceiling.


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