01 Oct2008

Selamat Eid Ul-Fitr!

by Marketman


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).



  1. Michael says:

    Those glass globes used to hold a mixture of oil and water with floating wicks. I visited a few years ago to see the whirling dervishes festival in Konya and was lucky enough to be in Istanbul in time for Seker Bayram which was the festival of sweets following Ramadan so “hospitable” shopkeepers were serving sweets and candies along with the perfunctory glass of tea. Since tourists were scarce at that time, just a few months post 9/11, I was pushed and pulled into shops a lot but the expected treat made it all very enjoyable.

    Oct 1, 2008 | 6:24 am


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  3. Marketman says:

    Oil lamps rather than candles… that makes a lot of sense, thanks Michael for that tidbit!

    Oct 1, 2008 | 7:10 am

  4. estella says:

    what a magnificent architecture! what special festive dishes do you think they serve during this festival, mm?

    Oct 1, 2008 | 7:37 am

  5. lee says:

    Salamat Eid Ul-fitr to all our Islam Brothers and Sisters.

    One of my best friends is Islam and I remember celebrating the end of Ramadan once in his house. We had kaldereta and other halal food.

    Peace to all!

    Oct 1, 2008 | 8:22 am

  6. bernadette says:

    Salamat Eid Ul-Fitr to everyone! Wonderful series of your trip to Turkey, MM! My brother-in-law is a Kurd ( with Turkish relations)— a very kind pediatrician at that despite the fact that he cannot practice it professionally here. He just does it for free for the squatter families living near their place. He is one devout Moslem and I am proud to have him as part of our family!

    Oct 1, 2008 | 8:39 am

  7. Connie C says:

    MM did you see/notice any ostrich eggs hanging in between the lamps? We wondered and were told the eggs discouraged the spiders spinning their webs. Can you imagine if anyone had to rid the high vaulted ceilings of cobwebs?

    Still a puzzle to me, but I trusted the tour guide was not spinning his own web.

    Oct 1, 2008 | 10:56 am

  8. zena says:

    Places of worship are often beautiful structures especially those that were built a hundred or so years ago. The first picture atop reminds me of a futuristic space-age castle in the sky with all the domes and minarets. =) I do wonder how this would look at night… If I have the chance, I take a photo of the same structure during the day and the night.

    Oct 1, 2008 | 11:25 am

  9. witsandnuts says:

    The mosques here are so grand. I hope your daughter find entering one fascinating. =) By the way, Ramadan officially ended before midnight of September 29. It depends on the moon sighting. The officials initially predicted that the moon will be sighted in September 30. Hence, most of the people in other countries thought that October 1 is the start of Eid. The special holiday in the Philippines should have been yesterday. Happy wednesday! =)

    Oct 1, 2008 | 1:21 pm

  10. FoodJunkie says:

    These glass globes have been in use since Roman times! It is lovely too see them utilised in modern times.

    Oct 1, 2008 | 3:53 pm

  11. Ivan Man Dy says:

    Jaw dropping indeed! Wonder how it compares to the Hagia Sophia (which used to be a Christian church before it was turned Islamic)

    Oct 1, 2008 | 6:34 pm

  12. Joan says:

    Hello Marketman, I know this is totally random but can you tell me where I can find rice flour? Is it available in local groceries/supermarkets? Or do I have to make my own (if it is possible)? Many thanks!

    Oct 1, 2008 | 7:05 pm

  13. Raneli says:

    Those oil lamps not only provide illumination, our Tourist guide Mehmet explained it was also used as an air freshener..as you can imagine..with all those men crowding next to you during prayers..sweat,perspiration and body heat can produce..well smelly resuts. Yes, those beautiful ceilings were breathtaking.

    Oct 1, 2008 | 7:41 pm

  14. Angela says:

    Absolutely beautiful! I can’t even imagine how much more beautiful it would be in candlelight.

    Oct 2, 2008 | 2:40 am

  15. emsy says:

    it’s really great that you bring your entire family along with you during trips like these that explore other people’s religion/customs, especially to The Teen. I know a few families who are similarly well-off but their children are always stuck at home while they travel the world. End result: the kids didn’t even know that Muslims don’t eat pork, or that Belgium is in Europe. They have all the gadgets and the expensive designer clothes…but when it comes to enriching experiences, they fall flat. Isn’t that sad?

    Nov 20, 2009 | 12:23 pm


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