Friday, May 31, 2013

Marissa in Mosques

Turkey was a very packed week of sight-seeing. I didn’t quite fit everything in to my other posts, so here’s some random things and pictures that I wanted to remember.

This mosque was right across the street from our hotel in Istanbul. It wasn’t in a famous part of the city, and this wasn’t even an old or famous mosque. But it’s still really cool.

In that last picture, notice the little girl in a pink dress dancing around :)

There are mosques like this on almost every corner. It’s like seeing ward buildings in Utah. We heard that there are 3,000 mosques in Istanbul. Not all of them are quite this huge, but they are mostly all really big and really ornate. We did a lot of driving on this trip (over 30 hours on a bus, yay!!), so it was fun to look out the windows and see so many beautiful mosques.

Turkey is 98% Muslim. However, it’s pretty unique in the Muslim world because they actually have a secular government and a separation of church(mosque?) and state. Our guide told us a lot about how Turkey wants to have closer ties to the West. I know they’re lobbying to be part of the European Union. Even though the Muslim holy day is on Friday, they have a Saturday/Sunday weekend so business with the West is easier. Their language is Turkish, and they use the same alphabet as we do. Until the 1920s, they used the Arabic alphabet. They changed it to the Roman alphabet in order to be more Western. I know America tried to switch to the Metric system and that didn’t happen...imagine switching alphabets haha.

Since I’m sort of on the subject of Islam, here’s some more pictures of the Blue Mosque (which we went to on the first day of the trip).

Taken from our boat!:

 In the courtyard (with terrible lighting haha):

Ritual washing stations:

Before going into mosques, Muslims do ritual washings of their hands and feet. There are stations like this outside of every mosque. It’s to purify themselves before praying.

One last mosque picture...from the Grand Mosque in Bursa.

Also featured in the picture, my cool roommate Kelby! A burly Turkish man in a white tank top enthusiastically offered to take a picture for us, and he proceeded to take about 10. Whatever makes you happy, overly friendly Turkish man.

So another random fact about Turkey: they love their country! They are very nationalistic. You see flags EVERYWHERE. I think there were a few more than usual when we there because of a holiday, but still. Pretty much every building looked like this:

Besides flags, there are also huge pictures of this guy named Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (that’s a mouthful) everywhere. I think he kind of looks like a vampire.

Here’s some flags with a huge picture of Atatürk from our cruise down the Bosporus. 

He’s even on almost all of the money, so you can’t avoid those eyebrows wherever you go. He was the founder of the modern secular Turkish republic (that replaced the Ottoman Empire after WWI). He’s the founding father of Turkey, and obviously very popular! 

And finally, some last random pictures.

Inside the Grand Bazaar (for the second time):

Ancient aqueducts right outside of our hotel:

And my last glimpse of Istanbul...this was the street our restaurant was on right before we left for the airport. A glimpse of the Istanbul night life.

So that was Turkey. What more can I say. Such a cool trip!


  1. love seeing all the pictures! thanks for posting more; so interesting!

  2. gorgeous architecture! and gorgeous Marissa!