Weekly Photo Challenge: Look Up ( Blue Mosque )

This week’s DP photo challenge is Look Up.

It is hard not to look up the domes of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey.CIMG0452

It must be one of the greatest Islamic architecture of all times.

The place is also beautifully lit with lights arranged in a spiral pattern.CIMG0412

You can wander around there for hours, with most of the time looking up to appreciate the beauty and grandness of the architecture.CIMG0451

Here is an introduction of the architecture from Wikipedia:

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque has five main domes, six minarets, and eight secondary domes. The design is the culmination of two centuries of Ottoman mosque development. It incorporates some Byzantine Christian elements of the neighboring Hagia Sophia with traditional Islamic Architecture and is considered to be the last great mosque of the classical period. The architect, Sedefkar Mehmed Aga, synthesized the ideas of his master Sinan, aiming for overwhelming size, majesty and splendour.CIMG0449

Please enjoy🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Circle ( Blue Mosque)

The Blue Mosque and other similar construction have made use of domes/ arches spanning in different directions creating a huge space below for the congregation of worshipers.

This is quite unlike the churches in Europe where cathedrals usually adopted narrow and steep arches limiting the space below.CIMG0412A

The Blue mosque thus show multiple circles on the roof which are really awesome.

In the first picture, I have attempted to give it a blue tone – so in my imagination, it is literally a blue mosques.CIMG0412

I have also uploaded the original picture for comparison.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Window (2)

The beauty of the windows at the Blue Mosque, Istanbul in Turkey is beyond description.


I can’t refrain myself from further posting on this Challenge!

On a completely different scale, different culture and setting, I am also showing the view outside a Chinese window in West Lake.CIMG1124

Please enjoy🙂

Travel Theme: Circles

Travel theme: Circles is this week’s theme in “Where’s my backpack?”

A circle is a reflection of eternity. It has no beginning and it has no end.

Circles are a two-dimensional concept. Many of the things we see, however, are three-dimensional – a dome, a sphere,  a ball etc but intelligent people like Einstein can even visualize the fourth dimension. Einstein once said the following to help people visualize the fourth dimension –  Take a point, stretch it into a line, curl it into a circle, twist it into a sphere, and punch through the space .. .CIMG0451

I was fascinated by the many circles inside the Blue Mosque, Turkey. Entering the Blue Mosque in Istanbul I was surrounded by an array of circles. Built in the 17th century, it has one of the world’s largest dome of 27.5 meters diameter, in addition to four smaller domes  and 30 even smaller  domes.CIMG0454

The huge dome hover above me, with suspended chandeliers that follow their shape only a few meters from the ground.   The endless lamps, hanging on their endless chains and hovering in great circles above my head, are miracles in their own right.CIMG0450

After seeing all these domes, arches, circle of lights in the Blue Mosque, I must admit I still do not have the faintest idea of what Einstein meant by the fourth dimension. I only knew that I have stepped back in time. . . . .  I have been thrown into a space where  circles and light predominate and was awed by them.

The Exotic Istanbul

Istanbul is a magical city that will quickly cast its spell on you shortly after you arrive.

We started our day visiting the Dolmabache Palace  on the bank of the Bosphorous. While we certainly admired the things we saw in the palace; we were particularly impressed by the serenity of the gardens outside the palace. What a bliss it was, sitting on the benches in the garden, looking through the tall white ornamental fence by the Bosphorous strait; watching ships passing by under a blue sky.

The Blue Mosque acquired its name from the more than 21,000 distinctive blue tiles that decorate the interior. Gazing at the magnificent Blue Mosque , we couldn’t help admiring at marvels of architecture and the vastness of the column free space.. . . . . the Blue Mosque can accommodate 10,000 worshippers. No cathedrals in Europe are able to accommodate so many worshippers. The Blue Mosque seems to have made use of multiple domes and did not try to be tall giving a majestic notion. The cathedrals in Europe, on the other hand, adopt domes sparingly and try to be tall, thereby having to resort to flying buttresses and other features to provide the lateral stability.   In so doing, the amount of column free space inside the cathedrals are reduced.

Hagia Sophia is probably the most famous example of Byzantine architecture in the World. It was built as a cathedral, then it became a mosque and today it is now a museum. It is where you can see Christianity and Islam under one roof. It was amazing to see images of Christianity next to Arabic calligraphy or mosaic.  The spacious  nave of Hagia Sophia is covered by a lofty central dome carried on pendentives,  a device not previously employed in monumental construction. Pendentives make  possible support of the dome on a square framework of four huge equal arches  resting on huge piers. The arches at the east and west are extended and  buttressed by great half domes, while the half domes in turn are carried on  smaller semidomed exedrae.
We sat down on the steps of this beautiful mosque and observe the daily rhythms of life – in this predominantly Muslim yet secular country, the mosques are as much a focal point of social life as they are places of worship.

Wander and haggle through ancient grand bazaars and spice markets was a unique experience. It’s the most mind-blowing and totally new shopping experience you could ever imagine. The Grand bazaar was full of colors; from the lanterns to colored  rugs and scarfs.  It is where you can pretty much buy everything known to man (from jewellery, to figs, to coffee,  to bags, to belts, to furniture and furnishings). Tired, we sat down in a cafe within the bazaar and tried out a Turkish coffee. 

Night life of Istanbul is legendary. When the sun goes down and the lights come on, Istanbul becomes the big scene for nightlife with incredibly various options. The city switches into a vibrant mode of night life action. There was so much night life as we walked down the main street with many pedestrians and trams  running in the middle.

Approaching dinner time, we decided to go to a restaurant where there was belly dance performance. The dance was so lively and attractive that most diners just concentrated on the dance instead on the food. The dance was more of an art than a performance!

There is so much life and so much to see in Istanbul. What has been said for London also holds true for Istanbul; if you are tired of Istanbul, you are tired of life!