Hi Frugalistas! Staying in Sultanahmet, the call to prayer from the Blue Mosque is a real feature. Stay close enough, and it wakes you every morning. Walking around Sultanahmet, its minarets form a landmark and help you guide your way. I was fortunate enough to have a hotel room overlooking the mosque – I loved how the sun lit it early in the morning and how it glowed softly in the evening light. I loved watching its many moods.
The Blue Mosque was the first mosque I had ever entered and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. It is such a beautiful building it doesn’t really require much commentary from me, apart from some basic info.
Entry to the mosque is free and you can enter any time as a tourist, unless it is during prayer time when it is closed for 30mins for prayers. When you exit the mosque there is a booth where you can make a donation towards the upkeep of the mosque (a lira or two is enough).
There is a dress code for entry to the mosque, however, they differ little from Catholic churches in Italy: no bare shoulders or knees (both men and women). Women need a scarf to cover their head – a simple rectangular scarf draped over your head is that is necessary. Trousers for women are OK. Upon entering the mosque you will be given a plastic bag to pop your shoes into – carry them around with you while you are inside.
Inside the mosque you are free to take photos, and can walk around. Don’t enter the main prayer area though – stay behind the little barrier. By everyone doing that you can appreciate it in all its grandeur better anyway.
This is really all I’m planning on saying about the Blue Mosque, the photos really do say it all. I can’t wait to return…….