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Istanbul Part III: The Blue Mosque


“The beauty I see in Süleymaniye Mosque is in its lines, in the elegant spaces beneath its dome, in the opening of its side domes, in the proportions of its walls and empty spaces, in the counterpoint of its support towers and its little arches, in its whiteness, and in the purity of the lead on its domes – none of which could be called picturesque.  Even four hundred years after it was built, I can look at Süleymaniye and see a mosque still standing in its entirety, just as it first did, and see it as it was meant to be seen.”  Orhan Pamuk, Istanbul

Standing in the Süleymaniye Mosque, or the Blue Mosque as it’s known to tourists, I found my thoughts drifting to interior decorating, connecting first with the beauty of interior design rather than the beauty of the divine interior.  Like Julia Robert’s character in Eat Pray Love, day dreaming about decorating her meditation room while in an ashram in India, my mind wondered to decorating my future home with painted Turkish tiles rather than contemplating the spiritual nature of the space.  Nevertheless, there are times when a space’s beautify imparts a sense of tranquility, which allows one to transcend the present and pray.   Eventually, I got there (or somewhat there) and was touched by the spirituality of the place and the faithful within it (even though I was forced to wrap my legs in a blue sheet worn by innumerable other pilgrims….sometimes fashion has to take a back seat to discovery).  With the opportunity to experience places like the Blue Mosque, S and I are truly blessed.





















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I'm an American living in Mainz, Germany and, after a a one-year sabbatical from office life, working as a corporate lawyer in Frankfurt. While living in Europe with my fiancé, my goals are to see as much art, taste as much food, and experience as much life as possible.

8 Comments Join the Conversation

    • Thank you, very much! This was my first trip with a camera other than my iPhone and I had so much fun attempting to capture the feeling of being in Istanbul for my family and friends.


  1. Your thoughts and photographs are just stunning, Col!!! What camera are you using? Missing you and can’t wait to see you!! Love, Nance


    • Thank you, Nance! I’m using a Nikon D3200 with a 18-55mm lens and sometimes my iPhone. I miss you too and I’m looking forward to our next party or party planning session 🙂


  2. Colleen, The combination of your beautiful written descriptions and amazing photographs transported me to the heart of Istanbul and wanting more. Thank you so much for sharing your world with me. Love you and miss you, Mom (80 days of school and counting down!)


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