This is the Sultan Ahmet Mosque, nicknamed The Blue Mosque by visitors because of the interior’s blue tile and paint. It has lush carpeting and is nicely appointed. The organizing theme of the mosque’s interior is tulips, which I overheard a tour guide say originated in Istanbul. The helpers at the door show visitors where to remove and store their shoes, and provide wraps for women wearing shorts or skirts. The place was mobbed by tour groups from China, Japan and Europe.
The mosque was built between 1609 and 1616, and is very close to Hagia Sophia, which was the most highly regarded mosque in Islam at that time. I do not know why such a grand mosque was built so close to a great one. There are many smaller mosques in the neighborhood as well, some pocketed in side streets with single minarets. At this point I have stopped taking pictures of mosques because of their ubiquity. It gets to be like photographing every Starbucks in Seattle, or every rug store in Istanbul.
The Golden Horn area is dense and compact, and therefore easy to get around on foot, and I’ve been putting on the miles. I liked the looks of this wall, made of broken crockery embedded in mortar or cement. It reminded me of the Purple Forbidden City in Hue, where broken crockery is a design element in some of the railings.