My Itchy Travel Feet | The Baby Boomer's Guide To Travel

Saturday’s scene: looking up in Istanbul

2013/08/17by Donna Hull

Ceiling of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul

You can’t help but look up on a visit to the Blue Mosque.

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.

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.

Have you visited the Blue Mosque? Did you get a neck ache? Post a comment to share your experience. I’ve already told Alan that we’re going back to see this together.

Thinking about booking a Royal Princess Cruise? Take a look at all of the articles from my cruise on Royal Princess from Venice to Istanbul.

Disclosure: Princess Cruises provided this travel experience but the opinions (and photo) are my own.


A boomer travel and lifestyle authority who is exploring the world one activity at a time. Besides writing and publishing My Itchy Travel Feet, she also writes about boomer travel for My Well-Being Powered by Humana, Make It Missoula and is the author of My Itchy Travel Feet: Breathtaking Adventure Vacation Ideas.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Alex Sheehan
Twitter:
August 17, 2013 at 9:22 am

The Blue Mosque really is a stunning place! Hopefully you had the chance to check out Aya Sofia as well. It’s incredible to be able to walk on such historical landmarks.
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Donna Hull
Twitter:
August 17, 2013 at 10:32 am

Yes, I say Aya Sofia as well. Istanbul holds amazing history to explore. Thanks for commenting, Alex.
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Jackie Smith
Twitter:
August 17, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Another important travel tip I learned in Turkey was that some mosques have separate entries for men and women. . .I committed a most polite faux pax as the nice older man kept gesturing to another doorway and speaking in Turkish as I covered my head, bowed slightly and responded in English, “Yes. . .beautiful!” And accompanied Joel inside. . .it didn’t take long to figure out the mistake. Sigh. . .but as I often say in those moments, “This will make for a good blog post anyway. . .”
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Annette
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September 11, 2013 at 2:42 pm

I would absolutely get a neck ache if I visited! What a stunning dome ceiling.
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Alina September 12, 2013 at 4:48 am

Amazinggggggg……I have never seen Blue Mosque…. Great Post!!!
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Gabriel
Twitter:
September 15, 2013 at 11:59 am

Ooooo, I can’t wait to get to this part of the world. I love architecture and art when done like this. Simply beautiful and a great chance to get some amazing pictures =)
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Arianwen
Twitter:
September 17, 2013 at 5:29 am

Great little tips! I’ve been caught out a few times without enough to cover me in very hot countries with specific dress codes for places of worship. It would be a shame to miss out.
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