All of the places we visited today are in the Old City, which is fairly close to our hotel. Our next stop was the Blue Mosque, known for its beautiful blue tiles that decorate the interior. Unfortunately, it has been under renovation since 2016 and shows no signs of being completed.
It has six minarets, some of which are being total re-built. The outside is covered with a large tarp. We were able to go inside but with all the construction, it left much to the imagination. Again, off with the shoes and on with the head covering. Still, from the Hagia Sophia, the view of the Blue Mosque is very impressive.
Our next stop was the Hippodrome, an ancient racetrack where the chariots would race. There is only one portion of a wall left of it but, as you will see from the photos below, it was immense and the center of Ottoman life.
Our last official stop was at the small Hagia Sophia, not far from the other mosques. It is far simpler in design and still used daily, although only 3% of Istanbul’s Muslims are very religious. More about that later…