Mosque Hopping in Istanbul

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One of my favorite parts of my trip to Africa was actually the layovers getting there. Turkey has seen a steady decline in tourism over the years due partially to terror attacks. One such attack, one of Istanbuls most deadly happened just weeks before we had arrived and left the city and most of the historical attractions completely void of tourists, a dark silver lining to the tragic new years eve attack.  I loved everything about Istanbul – the colors, smells, sights and sounds. It is really a city for all of the senses. The colors? Beautiful Turkish lamps of all colors and sizes hang in every other shop window in the city, at night the wet cobblestone streets are lit up by the displays that gives the city a warm feeling. The smells? Places like the Spice Market where you can get scoop-fulls of exotic flavors from all over the world, you can almost follow your nose to get to it and on a cold January day the market is a slice of sensory heaven. The sights? Ancient mosques whose spires pierce the Istanbul skyline in great numbers. The sounds? My favorite part of the city – the call to prayer. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced waking up in the hostel at the first call to prayer at 5 something in the morning. I immediately got out of bed and opened my window allowing the sound to fill the room as it echoed down all of the roads and alleys in the neighborhood. The call is recorded or live depending on the mosque playing it and they all seemed to want to out-do each other when it came to the delivery and enthusiasm over the mic. During the trip there was a moment where I was caught on the Bosphorus bridge during the call and hearing it echo over the river from both sides was incredible and the highlight of my time there.