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Turkey: Blue Mosque

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Blue Mosque | Turkey | Europe

[Visited: June 2003]

The name Blue Mosque evokes images of a coloured building, or perhaps the shimmering of the sea reflected on its walls. Its name, however, comes from the blue tiles inside the mosque; from the outside, it is perfectly grey. This does not mean, however, that the attraction of the Blue Mosque is its interior. It is actually very exciting to approach the mosque and gradually get overwhelmed by it. The classical entrance is through the west side, from the Hippodrome, where you can visit several smaller sights like the Spiral Column and the Obelisk of Theodosius.

Picture of Blue Mosque (Turkey): Istanbul, Blue Mosque: domes from outside

In front of you, you see the entrance, and the slim minarets towering above the area. As soon as you go through the gate, your eyes are drawn to the roof, to the minarets, and to the sky above you. Dome upon dome take your eyes higher and higher, until you reach the main dome with its gold spire. From there, six minarets take your eyes to the heavens above. This is, by the way, the only mosque in Turkey with six minarets. Walking around the mosque takes you to the main entrance where you get a plastic bag for your shoes.

Picture of Blue Mosque (Turkey): One of six minarets of Blue Mosque, Istanbul

Once inside, as your eyes adjust to the dark, you slowly discover the beauty of the calligraphy, the painted arabesques on the roof of the domes, the stained-glass windows letting through enough light to give the place exactly the appropriate atmosphere for a house of Allah. Four massive pillars support the structure, and above you, you can see the blue tiles from which the mosque takes its name. Unfortunately, you cannot get closer to them. Best is to sit down on the carpet on the floor and let the mosque do its impressive work on your eyes.

Picture of Blue Mosque (Turkey): Blue Mosque from a distance, Istanbul
Picture of Blue Mosque (Turkey): Decorations inside Blue Mosque, Istanbul
Picture of Blue Mosque (Turkey): Calligraphy on the ceiling, Blue Mosque, Istanbul
Picture of Blue Mosque (Turkey): Main dome from below, Blue Mosque, Istanbul
Picture of Blue Mosque (Turkey): Stained-glass windows in Blue Mosque
Picture of Blue Mosque (Turkey): Blue Mosque: interior with many windows giving light
Picture of Blue Mosque (Turkey): Blue Mosque: windows and calligraphy
Picture of Blue Mosque (Turkey): Blue Mosque: domes wherever you look

Around the World in 80 Clicks

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