Mosque: Mosques that stand alone or are built within a külliye, are religious constructions where the Muslims carried out their salah (namaz). Salah is one of the Five Pillars of Islam that has to be carried out five times a day (morning, noon, midafternoon, evening, dusk).
Before performing salah; a ritual ablution (abdest) is performed requiring the cleaning of the head, hands until the elbows and the feet. Adhan(Ezan – Islamic call to prayer) is a call for salah made before each salah period by muezzins. Among the traditional music maqams of Islamic world, Adhan spreads around the city from minarets that rises like a tower near to the mosques.
The largest of the mosques were Selatin Mosques that were generally built by the sultans and where they had their Friday salah. These mosques had two or four minarets and uniquely of the age, Sultanahmet Mosque had six minarets. Classical period mosques generally had outer courtyards and inner courtyards. Vaulted arcades (revak) that are covered with domes consisting of columns attached to each other surround the inner courtyard.
A şadırvan (fountain) is located in the middle of the inner courtyard and it has the fauucets for the ritual ablution. The arcade of the courtyard that extends throughout the entrance side of the mosque is called the last location for the congregation. The last place for congregation with two mihrab niches on each side is considered for those who arrive late for the salah or who can not enter due to the crowd.
The niches of the moques are directed towards Kaaba at Mecca. Since the direction of the Kaaba is on southeast – north – west axis. When you enter the location of religious services, in the middle of kıble (Kıblah) wall right across the entrance, there is a niche where the imam (prayer leader) stands enabling the entire congregation to move together. On the right of the niche, pulpit is placed for sermons or addressing the crowd. The sermon pulpit is on the left of the niche.
RULES AT THE MOSQUES
Since the mosques are open everyday, you can visit them except for salah hours. In large mosques when the time is near or during the call of adhan, the visits are delayed by the attendants until the end of salah. Since salah time changes every day with slight differences, the calling of adhan would be your guide. The salah lasts for approximately thirty minutes after adhan is called. If there are any specific mosques you would like to see apart from the large ones, please do not forget that they may be closed until the noon salah. Some Mosques in small neighborhoods can even be closed between the times of two salah. Some rules that need to be obeyed while visiting the mosques are as follows:
Because the inside of the mosques are covered with carpet, no shoes are allowed due to hygiene and showing respect. You will notice small bags at the entrance of the mosques for placing your shoes. In smaller mosques, there are cabinets with numbers and keys or shoe cupboards for placing the shoes. Place your shoes on these capinets, lock in and keep the key in your pocket until you exit. Do not forget to replace the key when you leave. While visiting tombs, shoes are removed and placed in the shoe cupboard.
Women should cover their heads and wear long skirts.
Since you may always meet someone performing salah, you shall not speak loudly and proceed further than the sections reserved for visits.
Top 5 Mosque in Istanbul Turkey
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque, one of the most revered masterpieces not only of Turkey but of the entire Islamic world, inspires deep admiration in all those who visit it. This mosque with six minarets, built between 1609 and 1616, is a striking example of the classic Turkish mosque and surrounded by many monuments dating to earlier phases of history of Istanbul. (Read more)
The Most striking of the all domes and minarets that define the skyline of Istanbul are those of the Suleymaniye Mosque, the largest and most majestic in the city. It fascinate every visitor with the aestich harmony of its interior and exterior, and its pleasing proportions. By any standard, the Suleymaniye mosque is an architectural masterpiece. Restoration of the Mosque completed in 2011. (read more)
The New Mosque
Ortakoy Mosque is situated on the Rumeli side of the Boshphorus, in the Beşiktaş district, next to Ortaköy Pier Square. (read more)
The Museum of Kariye Mosque
This ancient structure is located on the sixth hill of Istanbul. Near Edirnekapi in Fatih, Chora church was built inside the city walls. The name Chora, which means “country side” was given to this church because of great distance from the city center. (read more)