Experience Istanbul’s Call to Prayer at the Blue Mosque

Five times a day throughout the streets of Istanbul you can hear the trilling call to prayer, also known as ezan. During this time the voice of the bellowing muezzin, the man who calls the Muslims to prayer from a minaret, can be heard over the loudspeakers at different mosques in the city.

The first time I heard the chaos of tonal reverberations in Istanbul was while standing at the top of Galata Tower. The contrasting levels of noise seemed to be coming from every angle near and far, creating a chaotic concert.

The loudest voice was from the direction of the Blue Mosque and I wanted to follow the noise directly to where it was being created.
Call to Prayer at the Blue Mosque in Istanbul

Because the ezan only lasts about ten minutes we would have never made it from Galata Tower to the Blue Mosque in time for this round, but it was now on my Istanbul bucket list for this visit.

The exact times of the call to prayer changes daily due to things like the rotation of the earth, revolution around the sun, latitudes, sunrise and sunsets. It’s complicated.

Luckily, when we had finally arrived at the Blue Mosque there was a digital box displaying the ezan hours for the day. It would begin in a half hour which gave us enough time to swiftly tour the intricate architecture of its interior.
Inside the Blue Mosque in Istanbul Inside the Blue Mosque in Istanbul

Ten minutes before the action was about to start, we took a seat on the benches in between the Blue Mosque and the church of Hagia Sophia, a former Byzantine church and Ottoman mosque turned museum.
Benches in Front of Blue Mosque in Istanbul

The ezan began and it was like the call to prayer in surround sound, truly powerful. The Blue Mosque prayer began loud and Hagia Sophia followed a tiny bit softer.

I was mesmerized.

Though this symphony of sorts was impressive from anywhere in town, the most extraordinary happened while listening to the battle of the call to prayer between Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque while sitting on the benches in the middle of the two.

DETAILS: If you are not Muslim you will not be able to visit the inside of the mosque during prayer time, so arrive a little early to do this. The hours change daily, but you can either check the Istanbul Call to Prayer Times website for the times or find them posted in the courtyard of the Blue Mosque.
For Hagia Sophia, the winter visiting hours are from 09.00 to 17.00, with the final entry being at 16.00. During the summer, the hours are between 09.00 and 19.00, with the final entry being at 18.00. Hagia Sophia is closed on Mondays.
Address: Sultan Ahmet Mh., Torun Sk No:19, 34400, Istanbul, Turkey | Map
WebsitesBlue Mosque and Hagia Sophia Museum




2017-03-09T15:58:08+00:00 August 3rd, 2014|Categories: Europe, TOP PICKS, Turkey|Tags: |

8 Comments

  1. Marcia @ CuracaoVacation August 4, 2014 at 1:33 am - Reply

    Turkey has some great places to visit. It’s a great destination holiday and your pictures tell us why. They have great architecture. What did you like the most in Turkey?

  2. Zoe @ Tales from over the Horizon August 4, 2014 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    The call always sounds for beautiful from a distance. I don’t know how they do it.

  3. noel August 5, 2014 at 10:15 am - Reply

    Loved my visit here and just hanging out in the square absorbing all the sounds and call to prayer from the two opposite mosques

  4. Bali Attraction August 11, 2014 at 9:54 pm - Reply

    Beautiful, amazing, stunning.

  5. Turkey Holidays October 27, 2014 at 2:58 am - Reply

    Nice 1 dear…. Like Your Post….. Its a Beautiful Places to Visit….

  6. miguel November 5, 2014 at 8:15 am - Reply

    It’s so beautiful! 🙂

  7. lahcen January 3, 2015 at 8:24 am - Reply

    The blue mosque is a a fantastic building, so big, you can spot it from far away. Prepare for a long que to get in. Preferably is to get there early in the morning.It is a highly impressive architectural piece in the beautiful Istanbul. The sheer size of the place will impress, so will the blue tiles and the design of the mosque.

  8. Via Istanbul Tour January 17, 2016 at 3:36 am - Reply

    A beautiful area to stroll around and see Blue Mosque,Hagia Spohia, Basilica cistern rich with history! I would recommend a good longer visit to be able to get in some good history!

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