Istanbul’s Blue Mosque (Or Sultanahment Mosque) is one of the more popular tourist attractions in Istanbul, the city where the East meets West in Turkey. It was built in the early 1600s and earned its name from the blue tiles surrounding its exterior. Though still actively used as a mosque, it can be visited be following a few simple steps:
- Entrance to the mosque is free
- Arrive during a time when there is not prayer, as the mosque is closed for 90 minutes during these times. Prayer occurs five times per day – two hours before sunrise, at sunrise, midday, afternoon, sunset, and right before the sun dips below the horizon. Therefore, your best bet is to arrive during mid-morning to avoid these times. A good gauge is within a half hour after the ezan is chanted from the Mosque minarets.
- As is common with Buddhist temples, visitors to the mosque are required to remove their shoes prior to entering. Plastic bags are provided as shoe holders.
- Women are required to wear head coverings. Coverings are provided at the entrance for free if you don’t have your own (though, if many women are wearing the same covering, you’d probably be better off just bringing your own). Shoulders should also be covered.
- As the mosque is a place of worship, flash photography is not allowed and silence is expected. Alms are appreciated but not obligatory.
Lastly, but certainly not least, get some beautiful photos of the outside of the mosque!
Have you been to the Blue Mosque? What did you think of its beauty? Comment below!