The Blue Mosque
After visiting Ayasofya we walked a short distance to the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque. The Blue Mosque was built in the early 1600s. From the outside, it looks somewhat similar to the Ayasofya. We read that the Ottoman Turks were influenced by Byzantine architecture. You can see the Ayasofya from just inside the entrance. Another view just inside the entrance of the Blue Mosque. There are six minarets. I’m a little bit afraid of heights so just looking up made me a bit queasy. Before entering we had to remove our shoes. There was a place for the faithful to wash their feet. Inside you are struck by the thousands of blue Iznik tiles, their dye made from cobalt. Above the tiles blue paint is used in intricate patterns. The dome was circled with blue stained glass. The domed ceiling suggests somehow that the sky itself is a dome. Tourists are not allowed in when organized prayers are conducted, but there were a few people quietly praying or meditating. The atmosphere was hushed. I wonder what they were praying for. Blue, I believe, is a calming color. On our way out it was hard not to feel awed, and a bit more peaceful.