18 July 2013

June 7: Istanbul, the Blue Mosque

Near our lunch spot was this marker:

marker

In case you can’t read the photo, it says: "This stone pillar is all that remains of a Byzantine triumphal arch from which road distances to all corners of the empire were onve measured. Date: fourth century A.D."

After lunch, we went to the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, which we called by its popular name "Blue Mosque". I'm going to repeat a photo that shows the outside of this mosque from a distance:

Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque was built from 1609 to 1616, during the rule of the Ottoman Ahmed I. This domed structure incorporates some Byzantine elements of the Hagia Sophia. The interior is lined with ceramic tiles made at Iznik in different tulip styles. (Tulips are native to Turkey. Commercial cultivation of tulips began in the Ottoman Empire; only later were they cultivated in the Netherlands.) More information on wikipedia and the Blue Mosque site.

This is a very popular tourist stop. We had to wait in line for about 20 minutes to get in, and we were only inside for about 10 minutes. We took off our shoes and carried them with us, and the women had to cover their heads with provided scarves.

Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque

John and I didn’t enjoy the Blue Mosque as much as we probably should have. We liked the Rustem Pasha Mosque better because it was cute and cozy. The Blue Mosque is impressive and huge and the tilework is amazing, but it was also very crowded and we were hot. I think we were getting tired.

This is where we put our shoes back on.

Blue Mosque

Our air-conditioned bus awaits!

our bus

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