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 and famous mosques in Istanbul around the historic core of the Sultanahmet area can be visited by tourists during the non prayer times of the day.
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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Miyajima, Japan is most famous for the photos of its floating torii gate. But this lovely little island offers up lots of gorgeous scenery, both man made and natural. Read on to find out about what to do in Miyajima as I spent a day exploring its photogenic treasures.
The shrines and temples of Nikko, one of Japan’s 21 UNESCO listed sites, are one of the many easy options for Tokyo day trips. You can do a Nikko day trip either as a tour from Tokyo, or you can go there independently. Either option has its pros and cons. Read my recommendations for a complete Nikko day trip experience.
The centerpiece and most visited attraction of the Nikko UNESCO World Heritage site is the Toshogu shrine. This final resting place for Tokugawa Ieyasu is like a peacock among the pigeons, an extravagant and elaborately colorful showpiece dedicated to the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate that ruled Japan for almost 300 years.
Mount Mitake in Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park is a green and peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of nearby Tokyo. Only 90 minutes away, it is easily accessible and provides a non touristy cultural experience as you hike with the locals past shrines, waterfalls and a natural moss covered rock garden.
The setting sun glows off the gold leaf on Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto, aptly named the Golden Pavilion.
The Island of Miyajima is best known for the large floating tori gate in its harbor and for the Itsikushima shrine which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the buildings that make up the Itsikushima compels is the Toyokuni Shrine which has the nick name “Hall of One Thousand Tatami Mats” because of its large size.