September 8, 2013, Türkiye
Also among today’s marvelous experiences is a visit to Sultan Ahmed mosque, also known as Suleyman Mosque, but best known as the Blue Mosque for its splendid blue interior tiles. It seems my slightly above-the-knee skirt won’t do so I’m administered a piece of cloth to cover up. I walk in, blue cloth wrapping my waist, my own scarf covering my head and bare shoulders.
The space is stunning with its towering ceilings, intricate painted tiles and spectacular dome. This dome was constructed correctly, too, architects having learned from partial collapses of Hagia Sophia’s.
By the afternoon glow penetrating the 257 stained glass windows I see namaz (type of prayer) being performed around me by devout Muslim men. Some are crouched, others are standing, while still others are bowing. It’s not an unfamiliar sight to my eyes.Though suddenly, something quite unfamiliar and extremely curious does catch my attention. I see a little girl with a big pink bow running under a stone courtyard-like covered section in the center of the red-carpeted floor. I did not think females were at all allowed in the same prayer area as men. However, this little girl grinning from ear to ear is chasing her little brothers around like the hallowed mosque is her very own backyard. Now, another little girl appears. What is going on here? Of all the places the renown Blue Mosque is not where I expected to see women mixing with men and from the way the girls are eagerly running I get the impression this intermixing is an unexpected surprise for them, too. From the corner of my eye I notice a couple other women making their way onto the carpet, as well. They, however, are shooed off. I wonder if perhaps because the girls are still children they are allowed on the carpet while the women are not…I want stay longer, there’s so much to take in, but it’s crowded so we are urged to move on by our guide unfortunately sooner than I’d like. Nonetheless, what I do have a chance to admire is quite an absolute marvel to drink in.