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Istanbul: A City of Mosques



Aug 2, 2012


Istanbul: A City of Mosques

Mosques dominate the skyline in Istanbul. Dusk is the time when devoted Muslims break the Ramadan fast as they hear the call to prayer. Students toured many of these places of worship during their stay in Turkey.
The mosques interiors are filled with large open spaces and vibrant color. The space can fit thousands of worshipers. During Ramadan students are allowed to visit anytime, excluding the 5 daily times of prayer.
The Koran sits open with prayer beads after a worshiper is finished with his mediation. Students freely move around the mosques and are able to take in all aspects of its community.
A young student recites the Koran during Ramadan in his local mosque. Young people are embracing a traditional religion that spans thousands of years and is one of the fastest growing religions around the world.
Students have spent hours staring at the ornate and detailed tile work that covers the interiors of the mosques in Istanbul. The light and color of the tile is like a soft color painting filled with light blues and warm colors.
Visiting a mosque during Ramadan is exceptional. Witnessing traditional Muslim practices without restriction was, for many students, a truly moving experience.
Hot air blows in though large open windows. The thick plaster and stone walls help insulate the outside heat from overpowering the temperature inside. Students get a glimpse of Islam as they observe worshipers spending hours reading the Koran and praying.
Men and women pray separately at the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.


  1. Jonathan Simmons
    August 2, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    This is a great introduction to the month of Ramadan which a lot of people simply related to a holiday. It really has a lot of significance for the devout and I think you have really captured this visually with the beauty of Istanbul’s mosques and those who enter them to practice their faith. I would also suggest that you take a look at this article to get some more details about Ramadan:

  2. Will
    August 2, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Interesringly enough many of the mosques in Istanbul were churches first. Later they were converted into mosques. Specifically hagia Sofia, which is the lead picture is a perfect example.

  3. Susan Bryant
    August 2, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    What an amazing time of year for the students to experience this culture and religious practice.

  4. mehmet
    August 6, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    As a person who was born in Istanbul and lived in that city from 73 to 91, I can assure you that many of the mosques were NOT churches. Yes, Hagia Sofia was a Church and it’s dome shape inspired all Turkish Mosques. But, in Istanbul you can find a baroque style mosque next to a synagogue that is next to a Greek orthodox church. I have worshiped in all of the historic Mosques in Istanbul and Hagia Sophia is not one of them. It has turned into a museum before I was born. And I am 45. Russ wonderful job capturing Istanbul Blue Mosque. Cheers

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