Sunday, January 4, 2009

Turkey Travelogue: The Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque was built by Ahmed I between 1609 and 1616. It was supposed to be a positive distraction during declining fortunes in the Ottoman Empire, but a lot of his subjects were a bit upset by the project -- both by the fact that Ahmed looted the treasury to finance the construction and by what was considered to be a sacrilegious inclusion of six minarets in the plans (only a architecture in Mecca should be so grand!).

Visiting the mosque requires a proper respect for the space, so believe it or not, yours truly actually put on a skirt for the occasion! Yes, people -- I do have legs (well, ankles, anyway -- I wore an appropriately modest and long, though gauzy, skirt -- think dead show circa 1985)! ;-D

To the right in this photo you can see a bit of the royal loge, and behind that is the mihrab, which indicates the proper direction to face when praying, so as to be oriented toward Mecca.

The mosque takes its name from the blue İznick tiles used extensively throughout the interior. It was breathtaking to see, and we were fortunate to be there between prayer times, so that we had the time and space to wander about a bit while we tried to take it all in.


June said...

Do they rent skirts out or did you have to buy one? :-) I'm surprised they let cameras inside since they're so reverent otherwise. Glad they did...great shots!

alice said...

No rentals -- you had to come prepared with skirts (AND scarves for covering your head). I guess if we hadn't done our research before we arrived, we would have had to do a bit of impromptu shopping before visiting the mosque!

Keera said...

I'm glad you got the pictures! That mosque is gorgeous both inside and out!

Turkey Travelogue: Sokollu Mehmet Paşa Mosque said...

[...] Mehmet Paşa and designed by Sinan. It is covered in the same İznick tiles found at the Blue Mosque, but is a much smaller building, set on a steep, sloping [...]