on March 23, 2010
YENI CAMII:the name means New Mosque but as it was built in the 1600s it is really no longer that new. It is a very attractive mosque right by the side of the Bosporus by the Galata Bridge.This mosque is similar in style to other mosques in Istanbul with a number of rounded domes and then two tall minarets sticking up into the air, the number of minarets varies but this is the style of mosque seen in Istanbul it seemed to me. Building began beside the Bosporus on the sight of a former slum area in 1597. There were many problems during the building, water seepage, the death of the Sultan and money problems but after 40 years it was finally completed. It is not as well known as the Blue Mosque or the Suleymaniye Mosque but it is part of the water front skyline and is right near the Galata Bridge so someone arriving by boat would see this Mosque’s silhouette most clearly.The Mosque was part of a larger project which included a hospital, school and public bath as well as the Spice market. We arrived unfortunately,just before prayer time so we did not spend too long inside. Outside on the steps were several street vendors selling bird food and Mary Poppin’s song kept on coming into my head no matter how hard I tried to think of other things. Also on the steps was a man with a bucket of water and brush cleaning off the pigeon poos – obviously the street vendors were keeping him in work too.As you entered the mosque courtyard there was the usual water feature for washing prior to prayer which looked like a small building or summer house and then you went in towards the door where you collected a bag for your shoes (re-cycled supermarket bags) and put on your head covering or borrowed a wrap if your shoulders or legs were uncovered and entered the mosque. It was very similar to other mosques in Istanbul with highly decorated inner domes and carpeted floor with a slight odour of feet pervading. I always feel slightly awkward in mosques prayer time and always do my best to cover up and not walk where I’m not welcome etc. However this feeling of discomfort does take away slightly from the beauty of these buildings. I am not religious but I do find there is an aura in churches and mosques, you speak quietly and look around in wonder because that is how they make you feel – in awe.This is a very attractive mosque both inside and outside and well worth a visit if only to pop your head in to have a look. It is a landmark that you cannot miss if you walk along the river front in Istanbul and it is a integral part of the area around it with stalls in the adjoining tunnel that leads under the road between the mosque and the Galata Bridge as well as the Spice market behind it.
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