Appreciation – Istanbul Trip Pt.4 – Beyazit Mosque…or A Small Part of the Mosque

Continuing on from the small mosque we passed through from the Blue Mosque, we went on to Beyazit Square by foot, as it is quite near. On the way, there are lots of Islamic art and architecture treasures such as tombs and smaller mosques. However we did not stop by any of them – one thing I dislike about travelling with other people is that I could not appreciate fully the art and space I was in. I hate being rushed as my traveling style is to take it slow and steady. This way I can truly appreciate the reason I was traveling there in the first place. And with a city so culturally dense and historically significant like Istanbul, going slow is even more important as there are absolutely lots of things happening around you.

When we arrived to the square there is one building that is very prominent – the Beyazit and Bayezit II Mosque. There were scaffolding all around the mosque. Apparently, the whole building was being renovated and restored. It is an old building, anyway. The mosque was built in the 16th Century by the Ottoman Sultan Beyazit II. Understandably, all Ottoman buildings from these period will be restored often as to preserve them. Recently I learned that the Blue Mosque, one of the main sights in Istanbul, was under restoration, so I was very lucky to be able to visit it before all the scaffolding raised.

The only exposed parts of the mosque are the two minarets and the  main door, which is closed but we were still able to appreciate the intricate carvings and majestic muqarnas decorating the grand portal.

Off the side of the mosque, there was a path leading up to the only area of which the mosque was accessible. It is inside the mosque but very very limited – only a few rows or Saf for those who wish to perform their prayers there. Otherwise we could not see or access anything of the mosque. It is a pity, but I take as a reason to return to this great city some day.

After taking a look around the only place we can go to at the mosque, we left and found, again by the side of the mosque but at the square itself, a market of some sort. I later learned that it was a weekly market, in this case, a Wednesday market. A lot of things were sold, but antiques sold caught my eyes. There were lots of very curious items like old typewriters, coins and even seemingly random tiles and tidbits broken from ancient structures. I didn’t dare to ask anythings, particularly because I don’t speak the language and I am quite sure the price would be out of my reach as a traveler.

As quickly as we went to the place is as quickly we left. The light was fast disappearing from between the skeletal branches of winter trees, like a million hands waving to us and asking to come again. The cold early spring winds blew over us as we made our way to another destination.

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The main portal of the mosque. You can see the intricate muqarnas above the grand portal. As you can see the door is closed, and scaffolding were in front of it, hence making us to unable to approach it closer.

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A closeup of An Islamic Geometric medallion over the grand portal of the mosque

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At the entrance of the prayer space available at the mosque. You can see all the scaffolding behind me. I can only admire some of the architectural and artistic beauty the mosque offers

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An Islamic Geometric pattern panel above the door to the accessible area of the mosque. This was directly above the portal on the inside. You can see the green leather flap of the mosque door.

DSCN0523At the foot of one of the minarets. Beyond the scaffolding you can see a panel of calligraphy one in the Kufi Murabba’ style. It reads the 112th chapter of the Qur’an, the Al-Ikhlas or Sincerity Chapter.

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The same minaret, photographed a bit further away. You can see the geometric design creating a band on the base of the balcony, while rows of delicate muqarnas decorate the underside.

Ramadhan Kareem!

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As some of you might know (and I’m sure all of my Muslim readers do!) in a few days, we will welcome Ramadhan, the holy fasting month for all Muslims!

That means we will start fasting from dawn to dusk, abstaining from bodily pleasure, refraining from bad thoughts and acts, and increase our religious deeds all for the pleasure of Allah.

To be honest I am both excited and scared. Excited because it is such a special time for everyone! It is the rare time where everyone in the family can get together for Sahoor (Pre dawn meal ) and Iftar (Breaking the fast) and pray Tarawih at the mosque as a family. It is such a special time that you will feel the difference between Ramadhan and other months.

I am scared because I fear I might not be able to fully appreciate the month. My health have been going down for the worse these past few years, and its taking a toll on my daily life. Last year’s Ramadhan, I had a very hard time fasting and carrying out other religious duties. I did finish Ramadhan fasting, however I feel I should be able to do more, if my health was better. I pray for better health this year so that I can take advantage of the holy month more.

Nevertheless, I hope you have a great Ramadhan and for my Muslim readers, may Allah bless us with Ramadhan and may He accept all of our deeds, Aamiin Insya Allah.