It feels like a good day for some photos, so I’m just posting up a storm!
This gallery details my visits to The Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, which rest just a couple hundred meters from each other in the area of Sultanahmet in Istanbul. This is the area I posted a few photos of earlier, with lots of tourists and restaurants and hotels. The area is almost park-like with its paths and fountains and splashes of grass. It’s no wonder the neighborhood and the buildings within it are so popular with visitors!
As for these two particular landmarks, both are completely saturated in beauty and history, but to mention every nuance and characteristic would make this post too long, so instead I’ll just link you to their respective Wikipedia pages if you’re interested in learning a little more about each place: The Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia.
So read up and take a gander!
Starting at the convenient and always-crowded tram! It makes trips from Taksim all the way to and through Old Istanbul, crossing the Golden Horn and stopping at all the top spots.
Approaching the Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet.
The area surrounding the Blue Mosque. Across the way you can see the spires of the Hagia Sophia.
Entering the courtyard.
Inside the courtyard, Muslims can enter the mosque for prayer throughout the day. During the official calls to prayer, no photographs are allowed, but tourists can snap away at any other time. In addition to separate lines for tourists and devotees, there are separate areas for prayer inside.
Outside the courtyard is the tourist entrance to the mosque.
The line was rather long, but moved quickly. As a solo traveler it was pretty easy to kind of weave around the large groups and move up a little faster.
Inside! I brought my own scarf, but there were attendants at the entrance to pass out loaners so women could cover their hair and shoulders. We were also given plastic bags in which to put our shoes.
On the way to Hagia Sophia!
First an Orthodox church, then a mosque, and now a museum.
You can immediately see why the structure is famous for its architecture.
I seem to always have the good timing to visit places when there is also an abundance of scaffolding. Oh well. It’s still magnificent!
Part of me wanted to just lay down in the middle of the floor and stare up forever.
Outside again, and back to the tram!