Or to give its true name, the Sultanahmet Mosque, in Turkish, the Sultan Ahmet Camii. Begun in 1609 and completed only seven years later, it is remarkable for its size and for its six minarets. The popular name refers to the interior with its blue tiles. More information here.
We approached it from the side ~
Entering the outer gate and looking straight up ~
And this is the sight that greets you ~
This should give some sense of the size ~
We will enter in this door with its jewel-like dome ~
What a stunningly beautiful building! The Blue Mosque might be my favorite, based on the pictures (because I've never been to Turkey, alas). It really stands out in a crowd, especially with six minarets. The colorful mosaics are magnificent, and I like seeing flourishes of calligraphy here and there. Your parting shot from the ferry is gorgeous.
Thank you, NYCGirl! This mosque was the first I saw, so you can imagine how knocked out I was. As for favorites, I'd have to say the Süleymaniye, which although less elaborately decorated, has a true spiritual feel to it. One thing that makes the blue mosque so beautiful is that it doesn't seem all restored and renovated, although preservation must surely be ongoing at this treasure. Be it on your head that I will proceed to the selfie rant after answering the posts above!
Thanks so much, Mich -- you captured my reaction perfectly!
Thank you, Casimira! Let me answer your questions in sequence: We had planned nighttime picture sessions, but after a day on the go have only wanted to creep back to our respective rooms. Even though she has been here a couple of months & familiar with the transit system & the city layout, Istanbul is huge and crowded, so in that respect exhausting. I don't remember what year you were here, but I think you'd be stunned to see it now. It has 18 million people and is growing. Look at this Wikipedia entry on the metro system to get an idea of how the city has mushroomed since you saw it. I am staying quite close to Taksim Square, which is in the Beyoğlu district. Later I will post pictures I took of Istiklal -- a pedestrian street -- on a Monday night & you will see what I mean about the amazing crowds in this city, I will have to ask my friend which ferry we took, although I think you're right about Eminönü. And I'm dying to see Princes Island -- maybe on my last day, which is tomorrow. I so much wish I had allotted more time to this wonderful city! Your experience here must have been magical, with so much less crowding and modernization. Most of the buildings on my street are abandoned & slated to be turned into hotels, something that will isolate the tourist even further from how city residents really live.
Spend any time in a sightseeing mecca and you will quickly understand why Disney and other places have outlawed these insanely irritating, potentially dangerous, psychotically narcissistic apparatuses. Selfie sticks -- grrrrrrrr!
Standing in a site justifiably acknowledged as a world wonder, you cannot help but be distracted by the people ignoring that wonder in order to take pictures of themselves. Sheesh!
This is just a random people shot. I don't think they're all taking selfies. The "scrubs" blue and green items are what the mosque lends to visitors so they can conform to mosque attire standards. The woman covering her face is probably trying to get respite from the intense feet smell in the place -- something that doesn't fade while you're inside. The woman with the long red hair doesn't seem to get that you're supposed to stay covered.
Okay, a child can be forgiven for wanting to play with the sick stick, but should she be allowed to in this venue?
"We are so cool. I just love us."
And this -- this was the queen of selfies and a source of twisted fascination to me. She never stopped and her male companion also took pictures of her & egged her on in her selfie madness. She was able to kneel as gracefully as a geisha and get up an infinite number of times. But the most remarkable thing about her was her Giaconda smile that barely changed and never wavered over the time we kept running into her in the mosque.
The awe experienced by those around her doesn't make a dent in her vapidity ~
I'm not at all familiar with the section where you are located.
My visit was in September 2000 and I had planned to return in September 0f 2001 but my plans were thwarted by the events of 9/11. I was due to fly to Athens and meet my friend,travel through the Greek isles then on up the coast by sailboat to Istanbul. My plane was due to leave JFK airport on 9/12. I still could have done it but my mother, brother and several loved ones dissuaded me.
I do recall Topkapi not being crowded at all and the sweeping views from the terrace of the Bosphorous were stunning, I'd go back in a heartbeat. with more money to purchase a lot of things I couldn't afford then.
How about the Turkish lira? Too many zeroes for me, EISCH!
Boy, your cancelled trip sounds like heaven, Casimira. September is probably a perfect month to visit here, as I believe August is the monster tourist month all over Europe. Fares certainly drop in September. I've done hardly any shopping, although I can see why a trip here just to shop would be worthwhile. I don't know how prices were in 2000, but except for hotel deals, this is not the place for a bargain vacation. Most of the good stuff -- tiles, textiles, gold jewelry -- is expensive. Worth it, but expensive. Speaking of tiles, the classic designs are reproduced on all kinds of things here, such as trivets, coin purses, etc. But today I saw the winner: a bathroom scale printed with a classic Ottoman tile design. There was a redenomination of the Turkish lira in 2005, when six zeros were removed. As of this morning, one TL is worth 36 US cents.
Ha, Mossie -- there we were in one of the most beautiful buildings on earth and trying to capture a good shot of the selfie queen. Maybe that makes us no better than she is!
Cheery, I don't even have a cell phone, so you can imagine how the fixation on those things rubs my fur the wrong way. Thanks for your always generous compliments!
Last Edit: Mar 21, 2018 15:08:59 GMT by bixaorellana: replace smilies
It was huge disappointment to not go. My mother knew that too. She would have been a total basket case had I gone whereas in reality I would have been safer over there than in the US. After she passed away there was a separate clause in her will with money allocated to take my "dream trip" wherever that might be.
Wow, the prices were so cheap when I was there. I had a 1 carat sapphire gold ring made for my mother that only cost me $400.00 USD, a real bargain. The tiles were reasonably priced as were alot of the textiles. I bought some beautiful hand painted platters and bowls. The copper lanterns which I adored I bought as gifts.
It sounds like it's changed quite a bit over the last 15 years. I'm glad they knocked some of those zeroes off of the lira. It was maddening when going to pay for things, I could easily have been ripped off may times but on at least 2 occasions the person receiving the money would tell me, "no, that's too much".
Well done on your selfie rant! It's this kind of coverage that makes me feel like I'm there. I almost feel like I could get whacked in the head with a selfie stick any moment.
As much as I roll my eyes at people that use those damn things, I must reluctantly admit that I have posed for group shots with a selfie stick involved. My friend brought one on our Norway trip and we took some goofy photos on top of a mountain with no one else around. Even then, my friend sheepishly thanked us for obliging him.
Oh, I forgot to mention that I think it's great that these beautiful mosques are open to the public free of charge. In contrast, I remember three separate areas of St. Mark's Basilica in Venice that charged a fee. There was a gift shop on premises and they charged for coverings, too (but I did my research and made sure I was appropriately dressed). Since these mosques are actually houses of worship that, apparently, do not try to fleece tourists, the least people can do is leave the stupid sticks at home.
Last Edit: Mar 21, 2018 15:10:11 GMT by bixaorellana: replace smiley
I used the tiles for ornamentation, the walls and in other parts of the home to display. They are original Isnik tiles and my favorite is one depicting a tulip design, which is incredibly significant and representative of Istanbul
I in no way had the money to buy enough tiles to tile a kitchen or bath.
A stunning photo tour, Bixa, the tile mosaic work is a real treasure. I think the interiors are especially gorgeous. Istanbul is a place I'd love to see.
I can't understand how some tourists are either unaware of or ignore the cultural requirements in other countries. (The woman in pants so tight they look obscene in the mosque!) As for selfie-takers, with or without sticks, they drive me crazy! It just seems so disrespectful, especially in a religious setting, I wonder how the local worshipers feel about this intrusion. As for the crowding in Istanbul, do you think that is partially due to refugees from Syria?
The Blue Mosque is such a great space and so photogenic, as you have proven once again, Bixa. But one thing has always irritated me, even though there's probably nothing that can be done about it -- all of the hanging wires. I suppose that as long as they're going to use those chandeliers, they need plenty of wires for stability and security, especially in a major earthquake zone.
But I say "Out with the chandeliers!" because they are no longer necessary -- there are so many new lighting systems available.
Thanks, Htmb. Yes I did manage to fit in some other fancy buildings after the Palace Garnier.
Diane, thank you! I do hope you get to visit Istanbul, which I found fascinating & regret I didn't spend more time there. The people are lovely. I don't know how the worshippers feel about the tourists. None of the working mosques charge for admission, although they are closed during official prayer times. I was told that when that happens, though, you only have to wait about twenty minutes to go in. In most of the ones I visited, there is a large part of the center area that is visible, but with some kind of barrier to keep people from walking into it, although male worshippers can go through. The women's areas are not closed off, so I guess only common decency would keep anyone from going in and snapping pictures. About the number of people in the city -- I met an awful lot of Syrians. The official figure on overall population is 14 million plus, but I was told that a more realistic figure would be 18 million. When I went to the airport to leave, we drove and drove and drove through the city and endless numbers of apartment buildings. Check out these two articles for further reading: worldpopulationreview.com/world-cities/istanbul-population/ and www.academyofurbanism.org.uk/istanbul/
I agree, Kerouac. Also, I wish they would figure out softer, hidden lighting. I guess with the mosques, they're not getting tourist revenue so maybe aren't motivated to fix up things for better photography. However, I think most museums everywhere need to rethink their lighting.
Hey Tod. Yes, I abandoned my Palermo thread, although I WILL get back to it and there is a great deal of Sicily I have not shown yet.
Last Edit: Mar 21, 2018 15:12:25 GMT by bixaorellana: replace smiley
I'm back home with a decent internet connection and have just looked at your Blue Mosque photos, Bixa. It's as beautiful as I remember it.
I don't like getting old, but there are advantages to having done some things a long time ago. I did visit it when I was 19 -- there were no tourists, no head or other coverings required (I was probably in jeans) -- we just had to leave our shoes off. The atmosphere was totally different. And, of course, the city was much smaller. I would love to go back though -- one of these days.