Seeing mosques in wild flowers

Wisam and I decided we’d go to Turkey in lieu of our impending graduations. We spent exactly five days trapsing across Istanbul and its localities (including Asia – whut!), and by Friday were convinced that we are now experts of the city of a thousand mosques. Oh, the mosques. They were spectacular. In the early morning fog down by the port, when the seagulls are circling and the mosques look ghostly, ethereal, against the dawn blue, I was reminded of Umbellifer flowers.

When I’m walking in the countryside now I feel I’m surrounded by swaying mini-mosques, reminiscent of a beauty they will never see.

*I sadly did not take either photo – Nikon was feeling poorly and I left her behind


Can you see what I mean? A little bit? No? Ok. I have been known to make connections where there are none. Ahem.
On the first night, the morning call to prayer (fajr), was the biggest shock. As a minaret sat directly in front of our French windows, I almost screamed when it began. I’ve never felt more UN-religious in my life, and some of the things that came out of my mouth were pretty unreligious, too. But soon I came to look forward to it, and missed it when I was back home. I can’t wait to visit Jordan so I get to be surrounded by such aural community again.
This is what it sounds like:

Unfortunately we missed Ramadan by a few days, but our lovely hotel manager showed us pictures of last year’s festivities and  it looks fab. There’s a whole market at the Sultanahmet Square that opens just once a year for the religious month, and hundreds of families crowd round to break their fast together. These gatherings are called ‘street iftars’ (fast breaking) and look amazing! As it is just me and Sam at home ramadan lacks the vast amounts of food, bustle, and family chaos that I imagine in synonymous with iftar.

Here’s a picture of what the square looked like when we were there, and then during iftar:


Although Islamic countries are generally quieter in the day during Ramadan, and perhaps it’s harder to find open restaurants in non-central areas (an assumption: Perhaps someone can better inform me?), the nightlife is supposed to be huge, with shops open later and people generally in a festive mood after a hard day’s fasting. This is a fab article on things to expect in Istanbul during Ramadan. For those fasting, or those linked to someone who’s fasting, #2 will make you giggle.


4 thoughts on “Seeing mosques in wild flowers

  1. I was just in Jordan during Ramadan and it was super quiet day and night. Shops closed, restaurants closed, streets empty up until well after 9:30-10 pm as they broke their fasts at home before heading out. It was the first few days so maybe everyone was getting used to it .. ? I think it would be really interesting to immerse oneself in the fasting and festivities at that time of year in a Muslim country and really feel part if it. Unfortunately, where I was, there just weren’t many people around so I would have been tired, thirsty, AND lonely!


    1. I think you’re right about it being quiet at first… although I am not religious, the first few days of fasting are a real adjustment period, and my boyfriend spends it in bed – with the covers over his head and the curtains drawn!
      Yeah, I think it would be a wonderful experience to spend Ramadan with a Muslim family IN a Muslim country. A whole month spent preparing and eating food = bliss!

      Liked by 1 person

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