On a visit to the Blue Mosque—Sultan Ahmed Mosque is the official name—you’re going to get a neck ache. I guarantee it. How can you not? Looking at the intricately designed domed ceilings of this Istanbul, Turkey, landmark is practically addictive.
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On my cruise excursion with Princess Cruises, sunlight filtered through stained glass windows onto the tile mosaics as our guide described the over 20,000 tiles that created the design. Built from 1609 to 1616, the Blue Mosque has one main dome, eight secondary domes and six minarets. But the art isn’t limited to the ceiling. Dark red oriental carpets cover the floor, which makes it more comfortable for worshippers to kneel and pray. Unfortunately, due to a theft problem, the originals have been removed so their beauty is left to one’s imagination. Electrified lamps hang from circles of black iron that dangle from the ceiling. According to
Wikipedia, the lamps were once oil lamps and encrusted with gold and gems. What a sight that must have been.
Sultan Ahmed Mosque is still used for worship so plan your visit around prayer times. Mid-morning is an excellent time to visit. And expect to wait in line, this is one of Istanbul’s most popular tourist destinations. Entrance is free.
My photo of the Blue Mosque doesn’t do it justice. A tripod and advanced camera would have helped. To see what I mean, take a look at Sherry Ott’s Istanbul photos at Ott’s World. She has a beautiful shot of the Blue Mosque.
When entering a mosque, women are required to cover their shoulders and head. The mosque provides robes with hoods for that purpose but why not be respectful and dress appropriately in the first place? Tuck a scarf or pashmina into your purse for covering your head. We were also required to remove our shoes and place them in plastic bags which we carried with us.
Disclosure: Princess Cruises provided this travel experience but the opinions (and photo) are my own.