A guide to visiting Mosques in Turkey

Traveling to Turkey gives you the optimal chance to visit different mosques – did you know that there are approximately 83,000 there?

It is important to visit them in order to understand another culture or religion. By gaining more knowledge and understanding about the things that are different than what we may have experienced ourselves, it helps us create empathy and allows us to break down stereotypes. It allows us to engage in discourses that open our perspectives.

So what’s there to know before you visit one of these beautiful mosques?

A photo of the Blue Mosque from afar

About


The mosque is a place of worship for Muslims. It is a place that allows one to focus on God and prayer.

A shot of the inside of the dome of Selimiye Mosque

What to wear


When you are visiting a mosque, dress conservatively.

This means:

  • clothing should go below the knees (e.g., no shorts)
  • shoulders should not be showing
  • headscarf for women

With regards to the head covering for women, not all mosques may ask female visitors to cover their head. Nonetheless, it is a sign of respect to have a headscarf on.

If needed, many mosques also offer tourists the appropriate attire for entering the mosque (such as a robe or a long dress). These are free and can be returned once you have finished your visit.

A shot of the Hagia Sophia from afar

PRO TIP
If you are a woman, carry a scarf with you at all times on your travels in Turkey.
That way, you won’t have to borrow one that’s been used by others and you’ll be prepared if you ever need to cover your head.


Attitude


Remain conscious that you are in a place of worship, and so you should be reverent in your actions and words.

For example, speak quietly and respectfully, turn off your camera’s flash when taking photos, and put your phone on silent.

A shot of the inside of the Selimiye mosque in Edirne - there is an open space with a structure in the middle and lights hovering above the room in circles.
Contemplating different thoughts while seated in the Selimiye mosque in Edirne

The call to prayer


The call to prayer indicates that prayer time has started. The words “Allahu Akbar (meaning “God is Great”) start the prayer.

Interestingly, no matter which city or country you are in, the prayer is recited in Arabic.

A shot of the inside of the dome of Selimiye Mosque

PRO TIP
During the call to prayer, tourists will not be able to enter the mosque – so check when the call to prayer is so you can visit the mosque outside of these times.


Are you welcome?


Mosques welcome visitors of other faiths. So do not worry – it is not intrusive or disrespectful to go visit! Just remember to remain reverent.

Intricate designs on a structure near the Blue Mosque

Look up!


When you’re visiting a mosque, don’t forget to look up! The inside of the dome is absolutely stunning and you won’t want to miss out on seeing it!

A shot of the inside of the dome of Selimiye Mosque
A shot of the inside of the dome of the Blue Mosque

Such intricate details!


Must-visit Mosques


The Blue Mosque (Istanbul)

Named after the blue tiles surrounding its interior walls, the Blue Mosque is a definite must-visit on your trip to Turkey!

A shot of the entrance of the Blue Mosque
A photo depicting the opening hours of the Blue Mosque


Selimiye Mosque (Edirne)

Make sure to visit the Selimiye mosque to be enraptured by its outstanding architecture – you’ll feel as though you have transported to a whole other time.

There’s also a covered bazaar underneath it, so make sure not to miss out on that either!

A shot from afar of the stunning Selimiye Mosque in Edirne
A shot from afar of the stunning Selimiye Mosque in Edirne


Have you ever visited a Mosque? What else should people know about visiting them?


For more of my adventures in Turkey, click here.

xx