Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Good Morning Istanbul!

When we arrived in Istanbul we were shocked just HOW MANY mosques there are, all over the city.  In every direction, in every neighborhood there were minarets from a mosque.  It was really impressive!  I was really looking forward to this shore excursion the most, since it was covering the biggest highlights (in my opinion) of Istanbul.

Our bus headed off towards the Blue Mosque first, and this was another mosque that was up on a hill.  I don't know which one it is.  Sorry the picture is crooked!  

We drove past the Blue Mosque, but we knew we'd be coming back later.

We drove around Istanbul and saw the ancient city walls.  People built their houses right up to the walls, and some are still connected.

The courtyard leading up to the Blue Mosque has this awesome Obelisk.

This obelisk originally stood in Egypt in around 1500 BC before it was brought to Istanbul (then called Constantinople?) by Emperor Theodosius in the 4th Century.  It came on a boat.  That's hard to imagine!

Marshall is really good at wrangling children in a crowd!

There were birdhouses way up in the top of these bare trees.

This is the courtyard entrance to the Blue Mosque with beautiful gold signs.

There is the area for worshippers to wash their feet before they enter the mosque.  Women had to cover their heads to enter, but they provided a shawl for you if you didn't bring one.  They gave me one, and didn't give Maddox one because her jacket had a hood.  She was sad and really wanted a scarf, so we said we'd look for one at the Grand Bazaar later that day.  You also had to keeps your legs covered- no shorts or short skirts allowed.
 This is the amazing ceiling!  All of those chains are holding the lighting system.  It's very distracting to see these wires everywhere, but the view is still breathtaking.

Here you can see the huge worship area in the middle, and the rug for people to pray. The lighting system is really impressive, but not very pretty.  The room had a lot of outdoor light from all the windows!

The Blue Mosque has six minarets, but I couldn't get them all in a picture.

After we left the Mosque we were heading to a rug making demonstration!

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