Mine explained the segregation between men and women in mosques: Women praying behind men is only practical because women bowing to pray in front of men would be distracting. I think to make it fair they should just divide the mosque in half the other way, such that the left side is for women and the right side for men so that neither has to be behind the other.
We visited Hagia Sophia, a fascinating blend of church and mosque. It was originally Christian during the Byzantine Empire, but when the Ottomans conquered Constantinople in 1453, it was converted to a mosque. Its Christian frescoes were plastered over, its stained-glass windows replaced, its crosses made into arrows, and all representations of people, or “idols,” were covered up. In mosques you can have no depictions of humans, but only floral designs and some Arabic script.
We took the tram to Kabatas and then a taxi to the flea market in Ortaköy. We bought these big, delicious baked potatoes for lunch. What they do is slice the potato open, mix in butter and cheese, and then you choose whatever vegetables, meats, and sauces you want in it. I got peas, corn, cabbage, and rice. They squirt ketchup and mayonnaise on top. It's a bit decadent.
We walked around the flea market for a while, checking out cashmere scarves, ornate jewelry, funky pants, and lots of junk. I bought four scarves for 43 YTL (about $35). Pashminas are so soft and such decent quality for a good price. They will make great gifts. The guy kept telling me the prices were fixed, and he couldn't offer me a lower price. But I was persistent and got the price from 50 YTL down to 43 YTL.
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You are reading "Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and Ortaköy Flea Market", an entry posted on 12 August 2008 by Jackie Steves.