Turkey, a literal bridge between East and West, is a nation born out of various civilizations, including the Christian Byzantine empire and then the Muslim Ottoman empire.
Some years ago, a friend and her fiancé decided on a destination wedding. After visiting the country previously, her dream was to marry at the world famous Blue Mosque in Istanbul.
While the main wedding function was held at the Ciragan Palace, a former Ottoman palace along the Bosporus, the ‘nikah’ took place within the Blue Mosque.
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As we left for photos in the park by the mosque, we found ourselves facing Hagia Sofia, standing on the other side of the street.
Originally built in 537, for nearly a thousand years, the cathedral was the jewel in the crown of the Christian world.
It wasn’t till over a hundred years later, 1609, that the Blue Mosque was completed, creating two unique properties, side by side, showcasing the spiritual creativity of two of the world’s great faiths: Christianity and Islam.
Between the two buildings there is a park from which both show up in their respective glory.
However, the best view to capture the experience is from a rooftop restaurant at the Seven Hills hotel. As our group of friends broke into smaller groups who went off sightseeing, I ended up there for dinner just before sunset.
As we dined while the sun began to descent, the call to prayer came from one direction, then the call to prayer came from another direction, Blue Mosque on one side, Hagia Sofia on the other. This spiritual crescendo filled the air with an uplifting emotional experience.