Europe 2016 Day 12.4: Blue Mosque

[10 MARCH 2016, THURSDAY]

My fourth and final sightseeing stop for the day:

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Sultan Ahmed Mosque, or more popularly known as the Blue Mosque
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The Blue Mosque

While the Blue Mosque is a immensely popular tourist attraction, it is still first and foremost a mosque. And mosques in Istanbul (actually, the whole of Turkey… nay, even the whole world) do not charge entrance fees. They are all free of charge to enter.

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But you do have to observe some rules, specifically dress code
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Outer entrance
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The front courtyard of the mosque

While it is free to enter, it is not like you can just walk in and out at your pleasure. There are separate entrances, one for praying Muslims and one for non-Muslim tourists.

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Muslims entrance
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Non-Muslim entrance

Before you foam at the mouth and shout unfair and discriminating, that’s not it. Muslims know very well how to dress, what to do and what not to do in the mosque. After all, they grow up doing this. But non-Muslims are ignorant to these stuff, so our entrance is full of checkpoints with people screening our suitability and rectifying as needed before allowing us entrance.Β Fair enough.

Some key points:

  • Mosque is closed for visitors during azan (prayers) time. Five times a day. Time your visit.
  • No short pants/mini skirts.
  • No sleeveless clothes.
  • Ladies need to cover their head with shawl/scarf. If you don’t have one, they do provide at the entrance.
  • Do not wear shoes into the mosque. Take of your shoes and store it in a plastic bag (given) and carry the plastic bag with you. This is the most important restriction, failure to do so will result in immediate ejection from the mosque.
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Have to go through this “tunnel” (I was as tall as the length of the picture)
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And I’m in! I’m inside the mosque!
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The dome
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They only partition off about a quarter of the mosque for visitors to walk around. The rest is for prayers
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May not be the heaviest, but this chandelier is wide!
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I wonder why this guy is kneeling outside the barricaded prayers area. Maybe there’s something with this pillar
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I also wonder if this old chap is a famous personality in Turkey. Dudes were queuing to take selfies with him!

In hindsight, I think if we compare the insides on a tourist point of view, the Blue Mosque is probably nothing much to be wowed at. I think the Putrajaya Mosque is somewhat… nicer… (I’ve sneaked in once thanks to a Muslim friend of mine). But the Blue Mosque was built in the early 1600s so it definitely wins in terms of historicity, hands down.

Oh, right. You know why this mosque is known as the Blue Mosque? It is because of the blue tiles used to decorate the walls on the inside of the mosque. This is supposed to be unique and a wow factor. Not that I know much about mosques, so if people say it is a wow, then it must be. So… Wow!

I have to admit it was an interesting experience and I was glad I came inside to have a peek. After all, since it is free of charge, why not?

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Once you’re done with look see look see, if you’re interested, then…

It said the center is inside the mosque, but it was more like an information counter. The actual Islamic Information Center is outside the mosque building.

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This one

I was not interested though. So… time to leave…

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There’s this donation kiosk at the exit of the mosque

It is a real donation kiosk, not a “donation” donation kiosk, if you know what I mean (Malaysians). It is funny, when people charge entrance fee, I feel pissed off because most of the time, I thought they overcharged. But when I get to enter some place free of charge, then I would feel better about contributing some moolah towards the upkeeping of this holy place.

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And so I did (2x 5TL). These receipts can be used for tax evasion deduction purposes… if you are working in Turkey

And this was the last of my sightseeing. After covering the 4 historical sites, I had a couple hours before evening, so I went back to Taksim to buy me’self a couple more pairs of jeans from Mavi. And then I kind of called it a day, went back to the hotel to relax, packed up, and had a big dinner.

And I think this is the last blog entry of my Europe 2016 travelogue! I mean, yeah, there’s a Day 13, but Day 13 was all about me getting to the airport and boarding the flight back home. There’s nothing new there… and I’m sure you’re all not looking forward to more airport talks. Not to mention that I do not have any photos to show…

So, I guess, that’s it! I’m done with writing about Europe for now. And I’m panicking because I’m so used to writing about Europe that I have no idea what to write next. I don’t even know what I will write for tomorrow.

Maybe I’ll write another post about what I feel of this trip… We’ll see…

30 Comments

  1. I’m itching to go to Istanbul so I need to catch up on your posts about the city. Great to hear all the mosques are free to enter, and like you, I’m a lot more inclined to offer more in the way of donations. I’didn’t know I’d have to wear a headscarf either so that’s useful to know.

    The ceiling looks stunning, though not very…. blue?!

    • Well, the mosque is a few hundred years old, I guess the tiles can’t retain the distinct… blueness. πŸ™„

  2. I soon need to sit down and catch up on reading as I haven’t read all of your travel entries yet.

    I think the Blue Mosque is rather grand and extravagant. I love the beautiful details of the design.

    The only mosque I have ever visited was actually in KL. I can’t remember the name, but I do have several pictures of it.

    • It’s probably the National Mosque. It’s the only mosque famous enough to attract visitors in KL. πŸ™„

  3. This Blue Mosque is world famous!! The dome is very impressive and nice. I could easily sit down for 1 hour and admire them the ceilings and chandelier.

    When I was in Xian and visited the Great Mosque which also attracted Jibby & Hippo Mama recently. I was inside the compound like 3 hours and took nap too!! Muahahaha

    Hey your last post coincides with my last Japan post too! mine stagnant liao.

  4. Interesting.. now you write about it, at least I know how a mosque looks like inside though we have plenty of them over here. So you are finished with your Europe tour posts… I am sure there will be plenty to write on… but sometimes I have writer’s block too, so I ended up blogging about food, food and more food.. that is the only thing I do each day… πŸ™‚

    • Yeah, I have writer’s block now! No… I have blogger’s block! I guess I’ll go back to doing food and other random stuff… πŸ™„

  5. Writing your last blog entry for your Europe 2016 travelogue is like the last day of your trip, right? Time to move on…and a feeling of sadness πŸ™ Anyway, thanks for taking us on a trip with you! πŸ™‚

    • In a way, I guess I’m glad that I’m done with this. It was stressful to keep up with so many posts, but I figured it is best to do it fresh… Now I’m panicking, don’t know what I’ll write tonight…

  6. I think these old buildings are incredible because I imagine how difficult and time consuming the work must have been back then to construct them without the help of modern technology.

    • Yeah, that too. To build all these structures with intricate interior design without any modern tools, impressive!

  7. Once again, I had been here before, almost 20 years ago

    When I first saw the Blue Mosque, I find that it is very impressive, local mosques in SG cannot compare with it

    • Heh, maybe you could compare with the bigger ones in Malaysia. I think JB also has a pretty impressive mosque that maybe can slightly compare.

    • The actual mosque itself I think is okay big. But if include the courtyards and sub-buildings then yeah, biiigggggggg~

  8. The Blue Mosque looks magnificent, but I couldn’t spot the blue colour until you pointed it out. It looks like you can wear socks in the mosque? From your photos, it looks like quite a big mosque and it takes a while to walk through.

    That was a good Europe travelogue. I really enjoyed it πŸ˜€

    • Socks is fine, just not shoes. Basically they don’t want you bring dirt from the outside.

      If you stop and marvel at the intricate designs and architecture, yeah gonna take a while. If you just walk from one end to another, probably 30 seconds, hahahaha! πŸ˜›

  9. The blue tiles are those up on the ceiling in your dome photo? I have not been to visit any mosque at all (not even local ones).

  10. this mosque still looks the same! anyhow, u dun hav to sneak into Putrajaya mosque coz it is open to public as well. I’ve been to Putrajaya mosque almost a decade ago, and I would say their rules/dresscode were not as rigid as Putrajaya. I passed all the screening with ease before goin into Blue Mosque πŸ˜‰ It was so peaceful and quiet in this mosque and I lingered there for quite some time (though it has nothing to see). BTW, this mosque is unique because it has 6 minarets (apart from the blue ceiling).

    • Hmm, the number of minarets huh… for the untrained eyes (like mine), not much difference. πŸ™„

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