Saturday, May 10, 2008

Istabul. Yeni Camii.


I
t's only in a city with Istanbul's long history that can you call a monument that is nearly 500 years old, the "New Mosque"! That's how Yeni Camii ("Yen-ee Jahm-ee") translates from Turkish into English.
History
The construction of the mosque was begun by Valide Safiye, Queen Mother of Mehmet III, in 1597. After Mehmet III died, the building of the mosque dragged on for over 40 years due to water seepage, funding problems, embezzlement, and the death of the sultan, which temporarily shut down operations completely.

Six sultans later, Turhan Hatice, Queen Mother of Sultan Mehmet IV, took up the work and finished it in 1663.
Located on the Golden Horn, at the southern end of the Galata Bridge, Lei and I visited Yeni Camii late this afternoon. It's architectural style reminded me of the Blue Mosque but on more modest scale.





An elegant fountain for ablutions stands in large courtyard of the mosque.















Beautiful blue Iznik tiles line both exterior and interior walls.











When you enter the mosque, the first thing that grabs your attention is the stunning domed ceiling.


Then the rest of the interior holds you in rapt awe as you try and take in all the sights. Yeni Camii is a working mosque so out of respect, we entered with our heads covered, shoes off and if we had to talk, we did so at whisper level. Above all, we were mindful to not enter spaces where people were praying.




















We would return to Yeni Camii on our return visit to Istanbul. On that occasion, we had spent the entire day shopping the Grand Bazaar and in wandering around, somehow found ourselves back at the Spice Bazaar.....where of course, we indulged in one last round of lokum. Exiting the Spice Bazaar, we wanted to sit down and rest for a few minutes before continuing on. Lei found a "pigeon-poop-free" spot on the steps of the Yeni Camii and plopped herself down.....along with all her purchases of the day. One tired shopper :-)