Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Day 2 (The Blue Mosque)

The cascading domes and six slender minarets of the Sultanahmet Mosque (better known as the "Blue Mosque") dominate the skyline of Istanbul. In the 17th century, Sultan Ahmet I wished to build an Islamic place of worship that would be even better than the Hagia Sophia, and the mosque named for him is the result. The two great architectural achievements now stand next to each other in Istanbul's main square, and it is up to visitors to decide which is more impressive.

One of the most notable features of the Blue Mosque is visible from far away: its six minarets. This is very unique, as most mosques have four, two, or just one minaret. According to one account, the Sultan directed his architect to make gold (altin) minarets, which was misunderstood as six (alti) minarets.

Whatever the origins of the unique feature, the six minarets caused quite a scandal, as the Haram Mosque in Mecca (the holiest in the world) also had six minarets. In the end, the sultan solved the problem by sending his architect to Mecca to add a seventh minaret.

We certainly enjoyed touring this incredible mosque. The architecture was amazing and the kids had plenty of space just to run around and be kids. One of the hardest things about traveling in Turkey with kids is that there are so few "kid-friendly" places. Everyone loves kids and welcomes them, but safety and fun for them is just not taken into account.

Here is the closest we came to getting all five kids in one photo. This is, from left, Elijah (23 months), Isaac (who KNEW what we wanted and therefore refused to participate), Rowan (14 months), William (3 months younger than Isaac), and Noah (3).

Here is a great piccture of Dan and Angelica with Noah and Rowan. It isn't often that you meet couples that match you so wonderfully but our travel partners were just that. Dan is a very outgoing and caring guy -- (and he's a pilot!) Angelica is one of the most beautiful people (inside AND out) that you will ever meet. She grew up in Spain and while she lived for seven years in the U.S., is still learning some of the nuances of the English language. Their kids are bilingual.

A picture inside the blue mosque. No one is praying right now but the carpetted area is reserved for prayer (five times a day.)

Here is what drops your jaw. Look at the ceilings in here!


Here are Sarah (aka "Stebbs") and Ryan. Like I said in the description of Dan and Angelica above, it is often you meet couples that fit together. You often have women that get along or men. But in this group, we all really enjoy each other. Each time we move, I always believe I will not make friends like the ones we had before. God continues to bless us. Sarah is a funny, down-to-earth, laid back gal who loves Auburn. Both of these women are good for my soul. We are all sold-out Christians who push each other to be the best women we can be and to also cut ourselves a substantial amount of slack.

Our little Eljiah. He was definitely one of the more challenging members of our travelling team simply because he is pushing our limits on his desire to listen. Very selective on what he chooses to obey or not.

Such a cutie pie.

The entire Stebbins family.

A picture of four of the children. They were all willing to participate. It was Isaac that put a damper on our plans!

Lots of pics of Elijah but he's been quite the photogenic kiddo recently. Him and that hat!

Elijah and William are the BEST of friends. They hang out all the time, talk about each other all the time, and seem to communicate in their own language. So fun to watch them together. They are always nice to each other and just seem to "get" the other one.

A frontal portrait of this impressive mosque.

JB took this pic of our boys. Pretty artistic I think. Maybe he's thinking about returning to graphic design?!

He can be such a cutie and a handfull all rolled into one!

Our little stinker!

1 comment:

TAV said...

wow! great photos! Istanbul is such a cool city!