четверг, 14 января 2016 г.

Sultan Ahmet Mosque: small cultural center of Ottoman Empire

Before visiting Blue Mosque I knew just two things about this building:
·                    It is very attractive from outside.
·                    It has huge area.
Since my knowledge about this famous Turkish historical attraction was too primitive, I decided to discover this place.
Visiting hours
This Mosque doesn’t accept visitors on Friday, because in this day it is very crowded there: many Muslims come to pray. We came to Blue Mosque at about 5 p.m., and it was impossible to enter inside: at the time for praying started. However, we didn’t get bored. All that time we enjoyed the lecture, which was in the same area with Mosque. This lecture was read by imam in English, and took about 30 min. I learnt that such lesson is organized every day (except Friday). Our imam-lecturer was very cheerful and smart. Hall was full with many tourists from different countries, and everybody listened to him very attentively. His text was followed by slide-show. That lesson gave me information about the main provisions of Islam, about history and architecture of Blue Mosque. There also I learnt about Mimar Sinan – the most famous architect from Ottoman time. After lecture we made small speech with imam: I was wondering about some historical moment, and I got clear answer.

Sultan Ahmet Cami

About history
Decision about building Blue Mosque was taken by sultan Ahmet I, and it was started in 1609. In that time young sultan just came back from the war against Persian, which he failed. He didn’t bring any exchequers from that war, so he took money from the Ottoman’s coffers. It provoked displeasure between the people.
Officially building was finished in 1616, but construction was totally completed in 1617.

Sultan Ahmet Cami
On Fridays this area full of Muslims, who come here to pray. But in other days here enough space for photosession

About architecture
For design one of the most attractive Mosques in the world sultan Ahmet I appointed architect Mehmet Aga, who was a student of famous Mimar Sinan.
Blue Mosque – it is not just a building. This is a big complex, which includes 6 minarets, garden with pretty fountains and flowers, market. In 17th century this construction also had hospital, tomb, and primary school. However, with the time those sections were torn down.
Sultan Ahmet Mosque from inside – something marvelous. For the decoration architect used 20 000 blue tiles, which created a name for the building. Light from outside comes from 200 windows. Additional lighting give huge chandeliers. From the imam we learnt that on the chandeliers were found ostrich eggs, which protected Mosque from the spiders. I couldn’t even imagine that spiders can scare such things!

Sultan Ahmed |Cami
When we entered inside the Mosque I was very impressed and excited. That's why almost all pictures were taken by Dogu

Till now, Mosque was reconstructed few times. If to look attentively possible to see some different between tiles. Also glasses in the windows were changed. During construction sultan got colorful Venetian glass, which was crashed with a time. Of course, all these details don’t spoil common view.
Some rules for tourist
Since Blue Mosque is a functioning building, visitors should show respect to Muslim people, and follow some rules:
·    Before entering inside the Mosque women should close their heads. I didn’t have scarf with me, but it was not a problem: on the street just near the construction there was a seller with big assortment of these goods. Later we learnt that such scarf possible to get before entry.

Sultan Ahmed Mosque

·   For men and women there is a dress code. Men can not wear shorts, women should enter Mosque in skirt (of course it must be not a mini-skirt). I was in pants, and nobody made any comments about it.
·   Before entering shoes must be taken out. How to walk inside the building? Just barefoot. There were carpets, and they were very clean.

Sultan Ahmed Mosque
After lecture about Muslim's traditions I had some practical part. My love showed me how people pray... I am kidding. He didn't know that I took his picture:)))

·    It is not forbidden to take photos. So, tourists obligatory should take a camera, which is able for panoramic shots.

After we left Blue Mosque I was very excited and full of positive emotions. This building – small storehouse of Ottoman culture, and Muslim’s traditions. And if to speak about architecture, Sultan Ahmet Mosque can easily rival with his neighbor – Hagia Sophia!

Sultan Ahmed Mosque
For Blue Mosque 2016 started not good. In January, 12 here was act of terrorism...

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