Blue Mosque in Istanbul
A giant Muslim temple, the Blue Mosque is situated literally in several dozen meters from the Hagia Sophia. Sultan Ahmed, who decided to throw down a challenge to the memory of the Byzantine emperors, ordered to build an Islamic temple that would not be worse than Hagia Sophia. And they did it very quickly. The new temple did not manage to overcome Hagia Sophia with its sizes, but the beauty and the decorations of the Blue Mosque were good enough to compete with the Byzantine temple. The first thing that astonishes people, entering the mosque are its giant supporting columns. They are incredibly large and due to them the gigantic dome of the mosque looks like soaring in the air. The mosque itself is all decorated with tiles – there are more than 200 thousands of turquoise-blue tiles here. By the way, this is the origin of the mosque's name. Among the wonderful objects, placed here there is a piece of stone (Kaaba) that is sacred for every Muslim, and ostrich's eggs, hung under the ceiling of the mosque. What for? The point is that the floor of the temple is laid with the finest carpet with very dense nap, and in order to prevent the carpet from fleas, they scared them away with the smell of ostrich's eggs in old times. Anyone can get into the mosque, even not Muslims. It is only closed during the hours of prayer, and the rest of the time it is opened. You will be asked to take your shoes off, and women will be offered very beautiful turquoise headscarfs to cover their shoulders and hair.