The shadow of beauty

Aya Sofia

Istanbul is a beautiful city. First of all it is enormous, and it is diverse, eclectic, busy, green, old and very Islamic. Turkey is supposed to be a secular country but it doesn’t feel like that. Like in all the other Islamic countries visited you will hear a call to prayer coming from the mosques five times a day. Speakers in the top of the minarets amplify the sound so the sound carries a long way. In Istanbul the call to prayer is louder here than in any other Islamic country I visited. It is the only country I have been where you can’t continue your conversation.

That is paradoxical because I don’t see the mosques being flooded with devotees here. I mean, in Egypt you see virtually all the men rushing to the mosques. And if they can’t make it, you will see them pray in the back of their shops or on the street. It feels like there is a completion going on: many loudly ignore the loud call.