As I walked up to the Blue Mosque, I was completely overwhelmed by its magnitude and incredible architectural detail. Our tour guide gave a long speech in front about the specifics of the mosque, but I was more interested in walking around and snapping photos. However, I did learn that it is an operating Mosque and all visitors are required to take off their shoes and cover their shoulders. Some were given wraps to cover their legs too. Honestly, who wears short shorts when you are visiting a mosque? I mean really. As you can see in the picture above, I also wanted to cover my head.
After I got over the stench of hot socks that greets you at the entrance, I stood in awe and admiration at the hand painted tiles covering the walls and ceilings. The Blue Mosque gets its name not from the exterior, but from the blue tiles on the inside. It contains more than 20,000 Iznik tiles and 260 stained glass windows. Thousands of hanging lights created an orange glow inside; I imagined what it must have been like for the person who had to light each one when they were candles.