The next door neighbor to Hagia Sophia is another equally impressive monument, Sultanahmet Mosque, likely better known as the Blue Mosque – blue owing to the color of the tiles predominant in its interior. It’s imposing not only for its size but also for its six minarets and cascading domes. Since the building is a working mosque it means it’s not always open to non-worshippers. Good thing about that is that it never closes so we were able to take a look outside of worship hours.
Not used to visiting mosques I was quite alert about doing anything that could be deemed offensive. Once inside I noticed they weren’t so strict, with men just sitting, squatting, even laying down on the carpeted middle section, some taking and even posing for pictures. There was some talking and laughing and oddly, I saw a lot of children running around as if it were a playground, all this while some men were actually in prayer! Bit strange that.
And I also noticed this sign…
Afterwards, it was time to grab some dinner. We decided to go back to Taksim Square and look for this particular kebab place that someone suggested. Despite walking about a kilometer’s length (!) of Istiklal Street, we couldn’t find the place at all.
We did find another place on our list – Cicek Pasaji which turned out to be a beautiful alternative.