Saturday, July 24th.
We started Saturday with another SAS day-trip. We visited two mosques, and a museum. First up, the Eyüp Sultan Mosque.
It was the first mosque constructed by the Ottoman Turks following their conquest of Constantinople in 1453. It was built near the tomb of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, who was a close companion of the prophet Muhammad. It is therefore attracts many Muslim pilgrims. We were able to visit both the mosque, and the tomb. As we entered the grounds, we were shown the pen where sacrificial rams are kept. Muslims who have been blessed with enough food and shelter are expected to donate rams for slaughter, 1/3 of the meat is distributed to the poor. The sacrifice commemorates the willingness of Abraham (Ibrahim) to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God, but instead was able to sacrifice a ram (by God’s command). The mosque is surrounded by a cemetery. Many Muslims wanted to be buried close to Abu Ayyub al-Ansari.
Next we paid a return visit to the Sultanahmet Camii (Blue Mosque). Our guide was very engaging. He described the methods and meanings to the Islamic prayer rituals. Its an amazing place to spend some time.
Then across the former hippodrome and into the Türk ve İslam Eserleri Müzesi (Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum).
I was blown away by the books and calligraphy scrolls on display. Pictures were allowed, so I’ve included a selection.