The first time I ever heard the Islamic call to prayer was in Istanbul on my first visit in 2016. The sun was starting to set as I was taking a break on a bench in the hippodrome area in front of the Blue Mosque. The tulips were in full bloom and the scent of hyacinths was wafting on the early evening breeze.
Not all of the mosques in Istanbul are open to non Muslim visitors. But fortunately, the most beautiful ones in and around the historic core of the Sultanahmet area can be visited by tourists during the non prayer times of the day.
There is no doubt that the city of Istanbul is steeped in thousands of years of history – history that can still be touched today. Sitting beneath modern city streets that are teeming with pedestrian, automobile and tram traffic, a walk through the underground space of the Basilica Cistern is an opportunity to physically experience a world that existed 1500 years ago.
Photo Location – Column and courtyard marble inlay detail at the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi.
What a difference lighting can make in a photo. This is the same location as the previous post, the entrance to the Sheikh Zayed mosque; but this time, it is at the end of the day as the sun is setting behind the domes. I loved the symmetry – only one example of many at this amazing place.
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I have seen many beautiful religious buildings around the world, and after my recent visit to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi, it has become one of my favorites. I was like a kid in a candy store photographing it, but honestly, I don’t think you can take a bad picture of it from any angle. My challenge was to try and get some unique perspectives as well as the usual shots. This photo is looking through the main entrance into the mosque.
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Photo Location: Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates at sunrise.
Photo Location – Human Waterfall sculpture, Dubai Mall, Dubai, UAE Of curse the world’s largest mall also has to have one of the largest waterfall sculptures.
Dubai’s newest (for now) big attraction is a 300 foot tall picture frame. After walking through displays showing old Dubai, an elevator whisks you up to the top where you get panoramic views of old Dubai on one side and new, downtown Dubai on the other. The elevator then whisks you back down to displays of a fantastic future Dubai.
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In a city filled with extravagant and luxurious 5+ star hotels, the small, boutique XVA Art hotel in the historic Al Fahidi district of Dubai stands out for its elegant simplicity and unique art decor. The facility hosts a hotel, an art gallery and also a gourmet vegetarian cafe. But most importantly, it’s a serene refuge in a city that can feel a little too busy at times. A stay at this unique property provides a quiet retreat in an environment that feels both creative and authentic.