Friday, May 05, 2006

An Auspicious Day In Istanbul

After Language School today we headed to the European Side of Istanbul. It was a 5 minute walk from school to the Ferries, 20 minute Ferry ride to the E side, then about 15 minutes to Sultanahmet. At Sultanahmet the Aya Sofia is at one end of the square and the Blue Mosque is at the other end. We had decided we would not visit more than one site each time we came across the Bosphorus.
Today it was the Blue Mosque. We had to wait for Friday prayers to end before we were allowed inside. After a quick walk through, we were moved to the back rows by guards, visitors are restricted to the back, so they do not disturb the faithful.

The Blue Mosque

I had met a man outside, earlier in the day, while we were waiting to enter named Mustaffa. We separated upon entering and after we were seated in the back, he came to me and we talked for several minutes, speaking a mixture of Turkish and English. After some time had passed, he motioned for me to follow him. For the next 20 minutes he gave me a tour of the restricted areas, I saw the fragments of the sacred stone from the Kaaba in Mecca. He showed me the Sultan's private balcony where he worshipped alone and the stables beneath the Mosque where the Sultan's horses were kept.
After the tour was over he took me back to Ann and the kids and showed us pictures of his family. He sat with us for 30 minutes and talked of the history of the Caliphs who had ruled in Istanbul.
I didn't know if I was expected to pay him or not...when I mentioned it he refused any payment and invited me to his home for tea the next time we are on the E side of the City. I do not know what his connection is with the Mosque...but as he showed me around, the attendants and guards nodded to him and moved out of his way. It was an auspicious day to visit Sultanahmet.

Waiting For Friday Prayers To End


Anonymous said...

it is so wonderful to see how you are doing.........everything looks amazing. we miss you TONS1

Anonymous said...

Is that a beard Stan?
Ellie looks like Audry Hepburn

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful mosque! Why is it called the Blue Mosque?

What a treat to be taken on a private tour!

I'm enjoying the blog!

Julia (Girl's Club Teacher in Spring Valley)

Anonymous said...

Why is it called the Blue Mosque?


Silk Road Nomads said...

Because the inside has thousands of Iznik tiles decorating the walls...they have a blue floral design.

Living, Traveling, and Wandering on the Far Side of the World

Living, Traveling, and Wandering on the Far Side of the World