No visit to Istanbul is complete without seeing the Blue Mosque. However, in order to enter the mosque, you must be appropriately dressed. Notice how Rob’s attire exactly matched the “do not wear this” column.
Don’t worry, Rob was still able to enter the mosque. But not until he covered himself up appropriately! All visitors are screened by Mosque Fashion Police (clearly not their official title) before entering to ensure that they meet the etiquette requirements. Women are provided with head scarves and men are provided with sarongs. Fortunately, I was prepared and brought my own scarf.
The mosque was built from 1609-1616 and it’s official name is the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, as it was built under the rule of Sultan Ahmed. It became known (among tourists) as the Blue Mosque because of the thousands of blue tiles adorning the interior. There are more than 20,000 handmade ceramic tiles depicting more than 50 different tulip designs. The tulip is somewhat of an unofficial symbol throughout Turkey and can be found in many different forms pretty much everywhere you look. Watch out Amsterdam, Turkey wants your claim on tulips! I’m not sure if this is true or not, but our tour guide told us that Turkey actually gifted the Netherlands with tulips many years ago and essentially introduced them into the Netherlands (we both thought our tour guide made a lot of things up though, so we haven’t made a final decision on that claim as of yet).
The Blue Mosque is actually a little less blue than it used to be. The picture below shows a small portion of this column with its original blue color.
The floor of the mosque is covered by a beautiful carpet with a tulip design. The darker area of the rug is meant to be a place marker for where the men should line up for prayer. The dark portions are appropriately spaced to provide the men enough room to pray without bumping into one another.
The decorations inside the mosque were absolutely stunning! This is definitely a must-see for anyone traveling to Turkey (but of course, I’m sure you already knew that).