June 22, 2015

The Mosque - House of Worship in Istanbul

Istanbul is a city that seems to have a mosque on every corner.  They are grand structures that dominate the landscape of the historic center. Most mosques of Istanbul were built during the Ottoman era and often as a vanity piece of the ruling sultan. During that era, many also provided charitable services such as hospitals, schools, soup kitchens, baths and accommodations for travelers. One of the most significant components of the mosque is the minaret from where the call to prayer is announced over loud speakers.  With all the competing mosques announcing the call to prayer, it sounds a bit like a riot going on.
An Ottoman-era mosque completed in 1665, New Mosque (Yeni Cami) is a majestic structure that dominates the skyline as you cross the Galata Bridge to EminönĂ¼.
A man performs Wudu, a ritual cleansing at the ablution fountain before entering the mosque for prayer.
Waiting for dusk prayer to start at the New Mosque. The ritual Islamic prayer Salat is prescribed five times daily: 1) Fajr – the dawn prayer, 2) Dhuhr – the noon prayer, 3) Asr – the afternoon prayer, 4) Maghrib – the sunset prayer, 5) Isha'a – the night prayer.
Shoes are removed before one enters a mosque.  These shoes sit outside the entrance of the New Mosque.
A man outside the mosque entrance holds a set of prayer beads called tespih in Turish.  They are designed for a type of dhikr (remembrance) to keep track of silent prayers glorifying Allah.  The tespih consist of 33 or 99 beads to represent the 99 names of God in Islam.
Small lamps hanging from a section of a large circular frame are suspended above the prayer carpet in the mosque.
The interior of the New Mosque during dusk prayers.  Only men are allowed to pray at the front of the mosque.  Women who go to mosque pray at the back behind a wooden lattice partition or to the side behind a wall.
Men perform Wudu, an ablution (cleansing ritual) before entering the mosque.   Called abdest in Turkish, it includes a specific sequence and repetition of washing different parts of the body.  
Wooden Arabesque panel door on the main entrance to mosque.
The courtyard of the New Mosque (Yeni Cami) and ablution fountain. 
Garments worn by the imam during prayers hang on the wall in a mosque.
Prayer beads left on the carpeted floor of mosque.  The angle of the carpet pattern aligns with the direction of Mecca.   All Muslims are required to face Mecca during prayer.   
Worshipers and tourists pass through the entrance to the New Mosque (Yeni Cami) inner courtyard.
A woman exits the mosque past a heavily padded curtain hung across the main entrance to the mosque.

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