Essential Travel Experience #47 – Visit a Mosque

    Although world opinion about Muslims has dramatically changed since September 11, 2001, no one can deny that this is one of the world’s great religions. Islam dates to approximately 1000 AD, so it has certainly survived for a considerable amount of time, and it is practiced by over 1.5 billion humans, second only to Christianity in numbers.

   Obviously then, one can find mosques all over the world, and some of the them are considered major tourist attractions in their particular location. It is fascinating to visit a mosque, as a non-Muslim, although there are many mosques which are closed to non-believers.

      The most famous mosque in the world is, undoubtedly, Hagia Sophia, which actually began its life as a Christian church and was later converted. Now it is a museum in Istanbul.

Hagia Sophia

 One of the world’s most beautiful mosques is also in Istanbul. The Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque), named for its striking blue interior, is one of only a few mosques in the world with six (6) minarets.

Blue Mosque

Look at its glorious interior.

Interior of the Blue Mosque

   The other great mosque that we have visited is no longer a mosque. La Mezquita, in Cordoba, Spain, was originally a mosque, but a Christian church was built inside it (kind of opposite to the history of Hagia Sophia). Now it is a museum and one of the Spain’s most visited attractions.

La Mezquita

 Its candy-stripe interior is extremely attractive and beguiling.

Inside the Mezquita

 Moorish arches are everywhere, in various styles.

Mezquita Arches

 Check these out.

Mezquita arches

 The most sacred part of a mosque is the Mihrab, which orients worshippers to face Mecca.

Mihrab, Mezquita


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