The Blue Mosque is the third largest mosque in Turkey and is about 400 years old. It is most known for the 20,000 hand painted tiles that decorate the interior - most of them in various shades of blue. The interior is vast yet cozy; simple yet so complex. It's truly difficult to put into words the beauty.
|Courtyard arcade ceiling|
Being inside this incredible space was awe inspiring and incredibly peaceful. While there were a few people praying when we visited (the mosque is closed to visitors during the 5 prayer times each day), most of the people inside were visitors.
While this was my first visit to a Muslim country it was interesting to experience the call to prayer which happens 5 times a day and starts before the sun rises. The call to prayer is announced by a man in the mosque over a loud speaker. There are many mosques in the city and several near our hotel. The calls to prayer all start around the same time, but not precisely, so you get an interesting mix of calls going on at the same time. This video was taken by the fountain between Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque one evening as an example of the calls to prayer.
Call to Prayer Translation (from What is Islam? brochure given at Blue Mosque):
Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great:
Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great.
I testify that there is no god but Allah;
I testify that there is no god but Allah.
I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah;
I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.
Come to prayer! Come to prayer!
Come to salvation! Come to salvation!
Allah is Most Great! Allah is Most Great!
There is no god but Allah.