|COURTYARD OF THE BLUE MOSQUE. This is the courtyard of the Blue Mosque and it is as large as the mosque's interior. We tourists have just been escorted out of the mosque as Muslims were called to prayer. Only those who have come to prayer are admitted through the main door. (photo by Tony Martin)|
Hallelujah for the Blue Mosque! Hallelujah for seizing the day and traveling to Turkey to one of the most magnificent cities in the world—Istanbul!
To step into the dazzling light streaming through windows in the Blue Mosque in the ancient part of Istanbul was the fulfillment of a dream of mine that begin in my ESL classroom almost twenty years ago. Turkish students inevitably write papers or give presentations about this architectural holy wonder that was built by architect Mehmet Aga to compete with the awesome Aya Sofya located close by.
Better yet, although the Blue Mosque is open and free to visiting tourists, it is still an active place where Muslims pray five times a day. One of the most thrilling aural experiences is hearing the call to prayer, which is played on microphones and projected out over the entire city. At this time of prayer, tourists are escorted out hurriedly, and the courtesy scarves and wrap around skirts lent to women to politely cover themselves are collected.
The crowd’s hustle and bustle combined with its genuine respect for this sacred space is overwhelming! I am reminded of how much the spirit of creativity and the sophisticated execution of human imagination can elevate us to something transcendent.
This exquisite mosque was constructed a thousand years after the Aya Sofya between 1606 and 1616 and has 260 windows and thousands of blue tiles that give the Blue Mosque its name.
Being there was like experiencing an explosion of transcendent light!
Hallelujah for the Blue Mosque! Have you dear pilgrims visited this LIGHT HOUSE TO THE SPIRIT? Or a similar place (if one exists)? SOUL BLOG with me at Coffee with Hallelujah and tell me about it!