Blue Mosque, Istanbul
Favorite thing: Take a quiet walk inside the blue mosque and be sure to sit down on the carpeted floor. I think the interior is best appreciated from a humble, low position, the height at which one would be praying. Look upwards, trying to ignore the bustle of tourists and admire the beauty of the place.
Favorite thing: I never grew tired of just staring at the Blue Mosque. Something about the architecture -- its perfectly balanced symmetry, grand scale, touches of color--slows down ones steps and brings the internal rhythm to a calm state. Depsite its large scale, the building manages to convey a peaceful state of mind.
Sultan Ahmet I Camii (Blue Mosque)
The most famous, if not necessarily the most beautiful, mosque in the old city is the Blue Mosque, facing Aya Sofya from across Sultanahmet Square . It is a purposefully imposing structure, its interior walls clad in exquisite Iznik tiles, built between 1609 and 1616 by the architect Mehmet Aga. A student of the great architect Sinan, Aga built the mosque both as a means of showing the world that he had outstripped his mater – and the architects of Aya Sofya – and as a tribute to the superiority of Islam. It still maintains that symbolism for many Muslims. The mosque, with 260 windows, associated religious school, hospital, caravansaray and soup kitchen (the kulliye or “complete social centre” in the Islamic sense) is impressive for size alone. Its six minarets nearly caused a major rift, as this was as many as the great mosque in Mecca ; the Sultan had to donate an extra minaret to Mecca to quell the row.
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