Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

The next morning we rose early for our trip to the mosque. We were staying quite a distance from it, so maneuvering to that part of the city would take much of the morning.

Once we landed in the historic district, we headed to the line. While they allow, and even encourage, visitors, there is still a distinction made between who is coming as a tourist and who is coming as a believer.

We queued up and shuffled on, shedding our shoes and covering our hair as we moved through the stages of the line.

Soon we were let loose inside.

The mosque is unbelievable. It is the singular most beautiful religious center I have been in. Cathedrals are some kind of stunning as well, but I have always been partial to pale blues and intricate tile work.

I was not disappointed here.

Once the initial shock wore off, we loosened up a bit and enjoyed the experience.

We ooh'd and ahh'd at the high ceilings and beautiful light as we were regaled with tales of thievery within the mosque.

Since the tiles in the mosque are such a unique shade of blue, there is no way to produce an identical one. They are no longer made and incredibly hard to come by, they are naturally worth a great deal.

Brave and broken souls will sometimes risk their neck to steal a piece of tile from the mosque - something that made a lot more sense when I heard that tiles could sell for $15,000 a piece.

We watched men praying across the room, humbled and peaceful, before we wandered back into the daylight.

 We said our goodbyes to the group and headed to the Grand Bazaar.

 We were ravenous at this point, so we popped over to a young man and picked up some watermelon.

Before heading towards the entrance.

The Grand Bazaar was everything you'd expect: massive, winding, colorful, crowded, exciting and wonderful.

Certain shops seem to be everywhere, as it has become a very touristy destination. Ones stocked with dishes and sweets seemed to be the most prevalent, you could find one just a few doors down from wherever you stood.

We took turn after turn, roaming for hour as we picked up goodies here and there. Some to snack on as we browsed, some to bring home to family and friends.

By the time we left, the shops were getting ready to close down for the night. We beelined back to the hotel for a good night's rest before out flight the next morning.

If you find yourself in Istanbul, don't pass these experiences up! They may be crowded tourist pits, but they are extraordinary. There is a reason so many people want to see them.


  1. Lovely reading about your travels, looks like such a cultural place!

    Krissie x -

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