Tag Archives: Turkey

Sultanahmet Mosque – Istanbul, Turkey

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Sultanahmet Mosque

Sultanahmet Cami, 34122
Sultanahmet, Fatih, Istanbul, Turkey

www.bluemosque.co

OPEN HOURS:
daily except during daily prayers

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Visible from many spots around Istanbul, the Sultanahmet Mosque dominates the skyline. Commonly, it is known as the Blue Mosque, because of the blue ceramic tiles of different tulip designs, from Iznik city (Nicaea), that line it’s interior.

Sultan Ahmed I, had it built between 1609 and 1616 over the site of the ancient hippodrome and the palace of the Byzantine emperors.  Facing the Hagia Sophia, the Sultanahmet Mosque was desigened by royal architect Sedefhar Mehmet Ağa.

The  tablets on the walls are inscribed by the  17th century calligrapher Ametli Kasım Gubarımare with the names of the caliphs and verses from the Quran. One will also find beautiful examples of Arabic calligraphy by Seyyid Kasim Gubari.

The upper levels of the Mosque’s interior are dominated by blue floral drawings and stained glass windows. The coloured glass for the windows was a gift from the Signoria of Venice to the sultan.   Unfortunately time and poor taste have replaced many of the windows with modern versions with little or no artistic merit.

The mosque has six minarets each with three balconies (Called Şerefes).  This was unusual, and a cause of public unrest, as most mosques only have four minarets. Six was a number reserved only for Mecca.  As a good solution, more more minarets where added to Mecca – and the conflict was settled!

The design of the Sultanahmet Mosque is the culmination of over two centuries of both Ottoman and Byzantine temple development.  It incorporates Byzantine elements, from the neighboring Hagia Sophia, with traditional Islamic architecture.  This wonderful structure is considered the last great mosque of the classical period of the Ottoman Empire.

The Blue Mosque is an active religious site, so it’s closed to non worshipers for a half hour or so during daily prayers.   Before stepping in to Mosque, be sure to take off your shoes, women should bring a large scarf to cover the head and shoulders (but if you forget  you can rent one at the door).  In a kind of kitchy but fun actvity,  you can book  a photo shoot with traditional Ottoman Costumes in the Blue Mosque via the Ottoman dream studio.

The Sultanahmet Mosque is on the must see list of any good site-seeing tour of Istanbul.  It is a true marvel and a testament to builders of another age.  The complexities of its vaults and tiling is a site to behold.

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Istanbul Mosaic Museum – Istnbul, Turkey

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Great Palace Mosaic Museum

(90)  212 518-1205
Hacımimi Mh., Lüleciler Arastası Sk,
80200, Istnbul, Turkey

www.muze.gov.tr/mosaic

OPEN HOURS:
Variable:  Better to call before visiting.

A small side stop next to the Arasta Bazaar is the Great Palace Mosaic Museum Museum.  There, restored and displayed, are a myriad of Byzantine mosaics that used to decorate the pavement of a peristyle courtyard circa (r. 527-565).  Quite interesting in terms of style and complexity.

Here is a link to a 3d rendering of the www.byzantium1200.com/mosaic.html.

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Kanyon – Istanbul, Turkey

Kanyon 007(above Photo © Refik Anadol)  to be confirmed

Kanyon Mall

(90) 212 344 0150
Buyukdere Cad. No:185 Levent,
Besiktas-  Istanbul, Turkey

www.kanyon.com.tr

OPEN HOURS:
10:00 – 22:00 Daily

Ok- for whatever reason when traveling we always wind up at a mall.  We could look at it in a low-brow way and say its due to our innate consumerism – or high-brow and look at it as the apex of a cultures economic stature.

Whichever view you take, the Kanyon Mall is worth a visit purely for it’s architecture -courtesy of Jerde Partnership and Tabanlioglu Architects.  It is an open air experience with multitudes of shapes and voids that create dynamic visual experience. It is definitely sci-fi movie set worthy.

Embedded in a large modern office and residential complex, Kanyon is  a destination for local luxury shopping.   While there, you can grab one a the an excellent bite at their incarnation of the House Cafe.

Kanyon Shopping Mall(above Photo © Mathias Matzat)  to be confirmed
 Istanbul | Kanyon(above Photo © Jan Martin)
Kanyon (above Photo © Robert Gall)

"eye"(above Photo ©  Ioannis Stampoulis)