Tag:

Mosque

At the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque in Istanbul

Istanbul (Turkey). I loved this situation: I was taking some photos around the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque in Uskudar – a conservative district on the Anatolian side of Istanbul. After his pray, I noticed this man lacing his shoes, when a cat came to him and get some caresses. Immediately, a cute smile “blossomed” on his face, and he remained several minutes to play with the animal (while behind him, other believers were praying out of the mosque).

There are many articles explaining the relationship of Istanbul with cats. And I’m talking about street cats, living on sidewalks or populating small courtyards. The first characteristic is – for sure – their conditions: they are loved by people, which cure and feed them as if they were the owners. The origin of this respect is most probably in a popular saying which, in Turkish, should be (if I remember well) “Bir kedi öldürenin günahının affolması için tüyleri sayısınca cami yaptırması gerekir” meaning something like “if you’ve killed a cat, you need to build a mosque to be forgiven by God“: in fact, it seems that a cat saved the prophet Muhammad when was a baby, killing a poisonous snake that was entered into his cradle.

Even Hagia Sophia, one of the most important touristic attraction in the world, hosts a large group of cats: they are free to move in and out the prestigious building, and tourists frequently are much more interested in observing them, then in knowing the history of this church / mosque / museum.

I wish Istanbul could be an example for many other cities in the world: long life to cats!

 

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At the Erzurum Ulu Camii (Grand Mosque)

Erzurum (Turkey). In these days I’m traveling around Turkey, and today as I finished to work I decided to have a walk along the central Cumhuriyet Caddesi in Erzurum. Along this street there are some of the most beautiful buildings of the entire Turkey, and one of my favourite is the Ulu Camii (Grand Mosque). I already had been here some years ago, so I was quite familiar with the building and the interior. But – as it happened the first time I stepped in – I was impressed by the mysticism and the sense of peace it can transmit. I sat in a corner and I looked at the few people inside: I decided then to shoot this photograph, because I thought that there was a perfect light for a perfect moment. A man was praying close to the Minbar, his small body – illuminated by a tenue light – was contrasting with the big columns and the fierce and austere interior of the building. The entire scene was unique, and I thought it was something I needed to capture…

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Women’s Prayer Space

Istanbul (Turkey). Since today it is the first Friday after the end of Ramadan’s holidays (Ramazan Bayrami), I selected this photo with sun rays filtering through the window and illuminating the praying room reserved to women at the Eyup Sultan Mosque.

It’s not easy to take photos of women praying in a mosque, since they have a reserved (and normally obscured) room separated from the rest of the building. In some cases – like this one – there was a narrow passage between the main prayer room and the women’s room, and I used it to capture this photo (also leveraging the wide angle of my lens). Of course, as in a typical situation of street photography, I had to stay in front of (or at least pretty close to) this passage for some minutes to be “visually accepted” by people and to not create problems with my camera, and at the end it worked quite well.

However, since women do not like to be photographed, to respect their will I took this photo when none of their faces was recognizable.

 

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Postcards From Istanbul: The Blue Mosque at Night

Istanbul (Turkey). Istanbul (and Turkey in general) are living very tough times in these days; and life seems not being the same as usual. Newspapers and blogs are full of articles, opinions, analysis, stories and – I guess – even some legend about the recent (failed) military coup. However, this place is not intended to talk about things that are not photography and emotions.

For this reason, in the past days I realized that what I can and I want to do is remembering the happiness, the beauty and the carefreeness of Istanbul – as I love(d) to photograph it so many times! It’s a task, at least I live it as such; and to accomplish it, I need to start from images like this one posted here. Why? Well, the reason is quite simple: I’m spending most of my time following the situation in Turkey since last Friday (also for reasons related to my work) and I feel I’m really bombed by photos of Istanbul so terribly different from the “typical images” I’m used to see. What I want to say is that usually, writing “Istanbul” on search engines, the typical image that comes out is something like the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, the Bosphorus or the markets; but in these days Istanbul is associated to tanks, protests and masses – even with some photos taken from others stages (Egypt, for example) and reused to create confusion!

So, sorry for being probably stereotyped and for recurring to a cliché, but I can’t resist anymore. Istanbul (and Turkey too) is not the mess we are watching in these days, and I want – googling “Istanbul” – to see again its postcards of landscapes in the top ranking. I think that only in this way it will be possible to re-establish the right order of things; and only in this way Istanbul and Turkey will return to be the same amazing destination they have been since ever.

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