[August 2012] This was the third time for me to visit the famous Blue Mosque in Istanbul.
This mosque was completed in 1616 by the architect Mehmed.
It is special because there are 6 minarets.
That is because Mehmed misunderstood the Sultan’s order.
Sultan wanted gold minarets, but in Turkish, the words ‘gold’ and ‘six’ are apparently very similar.
The following is our guide’s explanation: The sultan visited the construction site and saw 6 minarets.
He called Mehmed and asked ‘How many minarets are there in the Grand Mosque in Mecca?’ .
In those days, it was prohibited to make a mosque as grand as the one in Mecca, which had 6 minarets, too.
Mehmed disappeared without answering his question, and after 8 monthes, he came back to the Saltan and answered ‘ there are 8 minarets in Mecca’.
During this 8 months, he went to Mecca and built extra 2 minarets there.
You can get into Blue Mosque even if you are wearing shorts and tank top.
When you enter, you would be examined and given a blue cloth to hide your legs, shoulders or head.
By the way, the first time I went there was 1994 and then I remember to see numerous hand woven rugs on the floor.
The second time was in 1997 and the floor was covered by machine woven ordinary carpet.
This time, I have a feeling the pattern of the carpet was yet again changed.
I wanted to check my memory, but so far I do not have a clue.
Does anyone know?