Friday, July 19, 2013

Ramadan mosque hopping in Istanbul

The first stop I made was at Yeni Cami, aka the New Mosque. After a bit of hanging around inside the outer walls of the temple, I went to the fountains in the plaza to wash my feet, arms, and face. You can't go inside without taking your shoes off, and there are guards at the entrance making sure the tourists follow the rules. Since it's very touristic, the inside is also divided into a tourist area and praying area for legit visitors. The architecture inside is beautiful.

Afterwards, I took a small detour through some alleys where a huge market was being held. There were sellers offering spices, olives, fruits, clothing, everything. I ended buying a couple baklavas and ate them happily as I explored the area. 

People shooting BB guns in the streets? Totally normal in Istanbul.
I finally got to Sultanahmet Square, the famous square in Istanbul where all the recent riots were occurring. There is still a large presence of people camping out there, but everyone was calm and pacifist. It was actually a fun environment, there was music playing and people were playing board games and walking around. '

I then went into the Blue Mosque (pictured above). Unfortunately, the dawn prayer was about to start and they weren't letting visitors in. I ended up just chilling in the plaza inside of the outer walls for a while til dark, listening to the prayer. 

Crescent moon on the only day I'm in Istanbul. Can't get better than this.

After that, I snapped a picture of the Hagia Sophia from far away and ran back to the Metro, as I was running kind of late for my flight. I didn't want to cut it to close, as I assumed the security to get back in would be tough and would take a while. It was actually the easiest thing ever. They didn't ask me any questions, they just took my passport, stamped it, and that was it. I definitely could have stayed one more hour. But oh's just an incentive to return one day. Istanbul is a beautiful city.

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