Just back from my 5th visit to Istanbul, this time Istanbul was very different … VERY quiet, no queues to major tourist attraction, no guests at the restaurants or hotels … it felt at times that I had the magic city on my own, a pleasant and also a very sad feeling.
And very heavy armed policemen and police cars everywhere around the normally busy tourist areas gave a serious frame to the city. But after living 10 years in Belfast it didn’t bother me and I felt very safe during my stay.
I had decided that this visit I would take a look and enjoy some of the insides of Istanbul because that is nothing I have done except on restaurants.
So my first day after breakfast I visit the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii in Turkish) … a day with blue sky and the sunshine, bluer than blue at times. It was nearly empty on Sultanahmet Meydanı, the square in front the mosque and Hagia Sofia. Only a few people were walking around or sitting on the benches enjoying the fountain.
I’m not going to tell the story and the history about the Blue Mosque – there is loads of articles about it and it has it’s own website: Blue Mosque, where everything is a lot better presented than what I can do.
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque has five main domes, six minarets, and eight secondary domes. The architect, Sedefkâr Mehmed Ağa was inspired by the Hagia Sofia and was completed in 1616.
This is how I spent some fantastic hours .. in one of the most beautiful and impressive buildings in the world.
I took a copy of the Qur’an in English with me home, it was free … it’s now standing on my bookshelf beside Mao’s “2 little red”. What I have read of it so far (just eyed through it) … quite interesting and a lot of wise words.
As I entered the mosque I met this lovely remembering of the summer that has been in the little backyard garden.
“There is no compulsion where the religion is concerned.”
(Holy Quran: 2/ 256)