The Turkey Diaries: Blue Mosque
Right across from the Aya Sofya stands the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, more affectionately known as the Blue Mosque due to the blue tiles that adorn the interior walls. Unlike the Aya Sofya, which was turned into a museum, the Blue Mosque is a fully functioning mosque where you can find people praying at all times of the day. It's still a hot spot for tourists though so Jeremy and I made our way over for a few minutes.
I love the story behind the Blue Mosque's six minarets (even though my pictures only show a few at a time). The local's belief is that when the mosque was being built in 1609 during the rule of Sultan Ahmed I, he originally wanted gold (altin) minarets. However, his architect misunderstood him and built six (alti) minarets instead of the typical four. The only other mosque with six minarets was the Haram Mosque in Mecca, which is known to be the holiest mosque in the world. In fear of offending anyone, Ahmed sent his architect to Mecca in order to add a seventh minaret to the Haram Mosque. I just like to believe that Ahmed was feeling like a boss so just plopped down two extra minarets because YOLO. Because they definitely used the term YOLO back then, right?
When you first enter the blue mosque, you end up in the outdoor court area which is pretty much as big as the actual mosque itself. I made sure to bring along my larger scarf in order to use it as a head covering. Jeremy had given me a head's up about bringing a scarf before I arrived in Turkey and I was surprised to see that so many female tourists still ignored the guidelines to cover their heads. The mosque seemed to be pretty lenient though and ignored any violations (except for the rule to remove your shoes before entering the carpeted area).
Once we were shoeless and inside the mosque, I was stunning by how beautiful it was. It was much easier to appreciate the beauty of the stained glass and interior tiling since everyone was talking in whispers due to the ongoing prayers. I wish I had captured a photograph of the entire mosque but I only snapped a few detail shots that really intrigued me.