Today marks the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting, for devout Muslims around the world. The holiday, Eid Ul-Fitr, runs several days with a whole lot of eating and celebrating going on with special festive dishes for the occasion. Marketman sends a happy Eid Ul-Fitr greeting to readers around the world who celebrate this holiday. It seemed fitting to do this post on a visit to the Blue Mosque in Istanbul in honor of the holiday… Built in the 17th century, the interiors of the mosque feature several tens of thousands of blue tiles made in the town of Iznik, and thus it’s name.
The mosque caused a bit of a ruckus during its contruction, as having six minarets was considered a challenge or attempt to build something as elaborate if not more elaborate than Mecca. The scale of the mosque is impressive and the courtyard, above where Marketman stands looking up at a minaret, is as large at the prayer hall indoors. The small gazebo in the center of the courtyard is actually an area where one used to wash their feet before entering the prayer area.
This was probably the first time The Kid was to enter a mosque, and it’s a good thing she had here scarf along to cover her head.
The main attraction for tourists inside the prayer hall are the stunning tilework inside the many domes. Hundreds of windows let the light in and accentuate the tilework. It is dizzyingly beautiful. On the floor (no photo) is a floral pattern on a red rug that seemed to cover the entire prayer area… of course the largest and primest areas of prayer were limited to men, with small sections for women at the rear of the room.
Hundreds of low-wattage bulbs now fill the simple but elegant glass chandeliers… which must have held thousands of candles a couple of centuries ago… I can imagine how utterly stunning this room would seem in candlelight. I am told, but we did not see for ourselves, that the Blue mosque at night is a stunning view as it is now lit from all angles and it attracts seagulls that circle all around the high-powered lamps (a phenomenon we observed at modern buildings downtown that were lit up as well).