Monday, October 19, 2009

Istanbul, not Constantinople..part 1, The Blue Mosque

The city of Istanbul has had several names throughout its history. It was called Byzantium at the time it was the chief city in the Byzantine or eastern half of the Roman Empire, then named Constantinople, and then Istanbul by the Turks, who took over in about 1452. It is now basically Muslim and the largest city in Turkey. It sits astride the Bosporus and has an Asian part and a European part, the only city in the world to be in two continents.

The photo below shows the old part of Istanbul from the Golden Horn, the two large buildings from left to right being the Sophia Dome(Hagia Sophia) and the Blue Mosque, photographed at sunrise.

The Blue Mosque was built between 1609 and 1616. It is called the Blue Mosque because of the use of blue tiles inside as decoration. The word turquoise comes from here. When the French saw the mosque hey referred to the blue as "turquoise", meaning in French "Turkish blue". There are six minarets around it, which brought criticism because the Mecca mosque only had five. Below is an exterior view of the Blue Mosque.

Below is a photo of some detail in the interior showing the blue tiles.

Below is a shot of the interior of the dome.

Below: Interior detail

Below: the minbar, the pulpit in the mosque where the main leader climbs the stairs to a platform to deliver the sermon.

Below: Arabic sign inside.

Below: Door

Below: Mini bazaar outside Blue Mosque.


  1. Beautiful! I heard you were able to make this post at a much more affordable rate.

  2. Yea, verily. Satellite is very slow and the cheapest I could get was 0.40 per minute. Internet cafes are also not as common as I believed, either.