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Religious Sites in Turkey

26th May 2015

Turkey is a very multicultural country, you’ll find people from many different backgrounds who live and work together in harmony. Perhaps it’s only fitting then that such wondrous representations of the multicultural community and society of Turkey and available to see and visit in the form of the many beautiful religious sites.

You’ll find a wide range of religious sites in Turkey dedicated to a variety of different faiths including; Muslim, Christian and Jewish religious sites. Many of these sites are open for the public to visit and they usually offer free entry.

Visiting these religious sites will not only give you the opportunity to marvel at their wonderful architecture and design it was also give you the chance to learn more about the history of each religion and see how they’re practiced in Turkey.

Below I’ve compiled a short list of some of the best religious sites for you to see.

Church of Sts. Sergius and Bacchus

The Church of Sts. Sergius and Bacchus can be found in Istanbul it was built to be an experiment of Byzantine architecture. The church was converted into a mosque in the 16th century and remains a mosque today called the Küçük Ayasofya Camii.
You’ll find the Church of Sts. Sergius and Bacchus or as it’s now called the Küçük Ayasofya Camii in the south side of Istanbul. Inside you’ll find beautiful architecture that has survived intact all the way from the Byzantine period. The first floor balconies also offer great views of the decorated ceiling and hallways.

House of the Virgin

Located in a nature park between Ephesus and Seljuk you’ll find the House of the Virgin, the fabled last residence of the Virgin Mary. This deeply spiritual spot is a special place sacred to both Christians and Muslims and it’s also a popular tourist spot.
There’s a shrine still in the care of the Lazarist Fathers who celebrate mass at the House of the Virgin every day. Two resident nuns also recite the Divine Office daily.
The House of the Virgin is a small stone building that consists of a bedroom, kitchen and some simple decorations around the shrine. There’s also a spring that runs under the House of the Virgin that is believed to have healing properties.

Suleymaniye Mosque

Suleiman Mosque was built on the order of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and is another example of the great Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan. The mosque as seen a number of reconstruction efforts during its life time but it still stands tall today and is one of Turkey’s most popular tourist spots.
The mosque as a number of gardens and tombs for you to visit and even has its own bath house. You’ll also be able to marvel at the wonderful architectural work of Mimar Sinan and visit the mosque prayer hall. The mosque is still used for prayers so for the best possible experience try to time your visit around these prayer times.

The Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque or to give it its official name the Sultanahmet Mosque was one of the last mosques to be built using the classic ottoman style. The mosque named the Blue Mosque by locals because of its’ blue tiled interior allows guests a unique view of Istanbul’s history and culture.
You can marvel at the mosques stunning architecture and visit the mosque founder’s tomb the mosque is still very active so for the best possible experience try to plan your visit around the calls to prayer.

Hagia Sophia

The Hagia Sophia has served many different purposes in its time, it was once a Greek Orthodox patriarchal basilica, an imperial mosque and is now a museum. As one of the greatest examples of Byzantine architecture left in existence the Hagia Sophia museum is one of Istanbul’s most popular tourist spots.

You’ll find masses of mosaics, paintings and pieces of art at the Hagia Sophia some of the most notable attractions include the; Marble Door, The Wishing Column, The Lustration Urn and some of the finest ancient mosaics left from the Byzantine period.

These are just some examples of the numerous religious sites found in Turkey. You’ll find visiting these sites and those like them a very educational and wondrous experience. No matter where you visit in Turkey you’ll be able to find religious sites both big and small, old and new that represent just how the diverse range of people in Turkey come together.


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