There’s a certain etiquette and rules for do’s and don’ts that need to be followed when visiting a mosque in Turkey. While they are tourist attractions, they are also active places of worship and you must be respectful not only of their customs, but of Muslim beliefs.
What To Do Rules
If you want to start your mosque visit on the right note, then just follow these simple steps to ensure your hosts also enjoy your visit too.
1. Be Respectful
It’s simple to note that each mosque in Istanbul that you plan on visiting, is most likely also an active place of worship. Your attitude inside the mosque also needs to be decent and respectful towards the monuments and the believers.
2. Be Quiet
This rule is no different from your local church or library. Remember to mute your mobile phone and to speak quietly. You shouldn’t laugh out loud, nor run around.
3. Take Off Your Shoes
When Muslims enter any mosque, they normally only do so after taking off their shoes first. Some mosque have spaced rows outside for shoes, others just inside the door.
With the Blue Mosque being such a huge touristic attraction, you will not be asked to leave your shoes at the entrance. Instead, there are plastic bags for free to put your shoes in and carry them by your side, during your visit. This prevents tourists from having their shoes go missing, with the practice also in place at the Suleymaniye Mosque.
For other smaller mosques that you might want to enter, you’ll either need to either bring your own bag or leave your shoes outside, like everybody else.
4. Cover Your Body Parts
The rule for Muslims is to be fully covered when inside the mosque. Tourists have fewer rules to follow. However, you still need to dress decently. Both women and men have to cover their shoulders and knees, and completely cover your hair if you are a woman.
Many mosques in the tourist circuit will provide scarves and long skirts, for free. So if you want to be sure that you are allowed to enter even the less known but equally beautiful mosques, bring these clothes with you.