on December 7, 2010
The Blue MosqueI was there one day in advance, before the Iranian president came to visit in Istanbul and the Blue Mosque would visit his prayers. That was never announced, but one of the water vendors told me.LocationThe Blue Mosque is located in the historic center of Istanbul. In the district of Sultanahmet. Exactly opposite the Aya Sofia.In front of the mosque is a beautiful garden with walking paths and a wide boulevard. Striking are the many benches in a row. You can see already that this temple, as I call myself a mosque, is set to hundreds of visitors. People from far and wide come to Turkey to Istanbul to visit the Blue Mosque. It is buzzing. It is right at the driveway, where no cars coming, a kiosk where you some souvenirs and drinks you buy. You walk the avenue (how I hate those old cobblestones!) And you arrive at a large white marble staircase. But that is not the entrance. This is the exit. To the right is a gate with a set of stairs. Here you go inside. And you stand in the middle of a large square garden with beautiful white marble. Left and right are steps along the square courtyard galleries , where people just stay in the shade.Right in the middle is the entrance to the mosque. But not for Gentiles (like me) only for Muslims themselves. Tourists have to go through. We are going to be back out and made a turn to the left. Then again stairs. There are people waiting for you. They speak up and tell them in English, Italian, French, German and other languages around. Then you get into a long queue and you go back up the stairs. By a narrow hallway and then you come gesticulating people you make it clear that your shoes do. You can take a plastic bag for your shoes to wear when you go inside. After this ritual you go shuffling inside. But you now walk barefoot on a blue carpet. And then you enter the Blue Mosque.InteriorSuddenly you are in a huge room with a beautiful red Persian rug. Marbled gray marble along the walls. Wonderful and immense. And then suddenly you know why it is called the Blue Mosque. They are the blue tiles (Iznik tiles) along the walls. In a mosaic with various paintings and performances. It's dark but the stained glass windows is light inside. It's just a joy to all those performances in the windows to see. Along the walls you will see various paintings. In the dome (with a diameter of 23 meters) are all Arab figurines, again in the mosaic form. According to information, there are 21,000 tiles used in this mosque.The highest point is 46 meters high. Then you can have a bit of the immense space proposals.The story goes that in 1616 Sultan Ahmet I wanted to build a mosque with golden minarets. He gave his architect commissioned Altin (golden) minarets. But the architect knew that this would be too expensive for the rich and he pretended to "alti" understood and that means six. So he built a mosque with six minarets. The Blue Mosque only mosque with six minarets.In the middle of the mosque has a wooden partition. Here again the people (men going within and go meditate here. In the middle right is a wooden separate room where people are praying. The place where you are directed to the east sits. I noticed that the very busy, but it's not like elsewhere in Istanbul is a gibberish of vengeance, no it is a devout place. Even the children are adapting!At the front seats are coves where women can sit.Each time you look pulled up. Beautiful lights, again enormous. Simply Magnificent.Then you exit. In the right corner is a wooden mosque on the scale of the mosque of Medina. Behind them hangs a painting of the same mosque. It's a sort of wooden wall and men sit on the wall like the Wailing Wall.Then you step out onto a landing and then the busy life back to you. People can talk again and do the same. You try to get a spot for your shoes. Middle of the platform is a man shouting behind a big box, and points out that you make a donation for the mosque can deposit. You walk down the stairs and you're still from this experience.PriceIt is one of the few attractions in Istanbul, which are free. Unless the requested donation at the exit. I always find it a strange idea when I am with a church or a mosque, a religious place to pay. But the Blue Mosque is free to visit. I can recommend you. It's a beautiful sight. And you have just as cool in the heat.ConclusionIn my view this is an excellent opportunity to visit. Are you religious set, you can find devotion. Are you art lover, then you admire the architecture and tile work. If you set historically, you see a building a few centuries ago. And you're just a tourist, you should have seen this place. It is one of the top attractions of Istanbul. One advantage is that it is free to visit. In my view, the Blue Mosque a must for everyone.
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