Istanbul is a city rich in history and culture, hosting many historic mosques. For foreign tourists, these mosques offer the opportunity to explore important places of worship in Islam and admire unique architectural beauty. However, while enjoying this religious and cultural experience, it’s important to pay attention to some key aspects. Here are important guidelines for foreign tourists visiting mosques in Istanbul. If you’re planning to visit the historic mosques in Istanbul, it’s important to be aware of and respect the appropriate dress code rules. Here are some key details to keep in mind when visiting mosques in Istanbul:
Dress Code for Women
When visiting mosques in Istanbul, women are expected to wear clothing that covers their heads, shoulders, knees, and yes, even their toes. It’s important that the chest and legs are covered as well. You can bring your own scarf to cover your head, but please note that scarves are provided at the entrance of every mosque for your convenience. If you happen to be wearing leggings, tights, or skirts, wraps will be provided at the entrance.
Dress Code for Men
For men, it’s important that shorts cover the knees, and tank tops are not considered appropriate attire. T-shirts, on the other hand, are perfectly fine. Remember to remove your hat when entering the mosque, and it’s customary to keep your hands out of your pockets while you stand before the altar.
Dress Code for Children
Generally, children are free to roam the mosques until the age of 12. However, it’s a good practice to adjust this age limit to 9, especially if you’re visiting during the summer when shorts and tank tops are common. Providing them with a regular T-shirt and shorts that cover their knees will make them feel more comfortable.
General dress code rules for everyone
Upon entering mosques in Istanbul, you will be required to remove your shoes and carry them with you. Plastic bags are provided for this purpose, and whether you choose to wear socks or not is entirely up to you. Please be prepared for a line at the entrance of mosques, as people take off their shoes and get properly covered. Tour guides do not have priority to skip this line. (During high season, expect a line at the Blue Mosque.)
While photography is allowed in most mosques, it’s crucial to respect people’s privacy when they are in the mosque for prayer, and refrain from taking pictures of individuals engaged in worship. By adhering to these guidelines, you’ll not only show respect for local customs but also enhance your meaningful experience while exploring the beauty and history of Istanbul’s mosques.
What else to look out for in mosques?
After all, you are entering a place of worship. There are basic rules you need to observe. Just as you would be sensitive in your own country when you enter a place of worship, so should you be when visiting a mosque.
When visiting mosques in Turkey, it’s important to dress modestly. For men, shorts and sleeveless attire should be avoided, while women are encouraged to wear long-sleeved and long dresses. It is advisable for women to cover their heads, although it may not be mandatory in all mosques. In any case, observing the attire of previous visitors is a good practice.
Remove Your Shoes
Before entering the mosque, you will be required to remove your shoes. Typically, mosques have shoe racks or plastic bags available at the entrance, making it easy to store your shoes securely.
Upon entering the mosque, maintain a quiet atmosphere and turn off your cell phone. It’s essential not to disrupt those who are in prayer. If you wish to take photographs, ask for permission first or identify designated areas for photography. Avoid speaking loudly and refrain from any behavior that may be distracting.
While exploring the mosque’s interior, show respect to the ornate decorations and historical details. Do not touch or write on the walls or any part of the mosque’s interior.
Observe Religious Practices
During your visit to the mosque, try to observe the religious practices of Muslims and learn about prayer times. The acts of worship inside the mosque are an integral part of Islamic culture.
Consider a Guide
To gain more insight into the historic mosques of Istanbul, it’s a good idea to hire a guide. Guides can provide valuable information about the historical and cultural significance of these places.
As a foreign tourist visiting mosques in Istanbul, adhering to these guidelines is essential to show respect for local culture and traditions. Istanbul’s historic mosques not only represent religious values but also reflect the city’s history and culture. Therefore, exploring these sites with respect and curiosity will offer a rewarding experience.
[FAQ] How should men and women dress in the mosque?
If you want to visit a mosque in Turkey, there are some dress code rules to follow. For women, long dresses and dresses that do not show cleavage should be preferred. For men, you should wear a long t-shirt up to the elbows or a suitable outfit. If you are wearing shorts, they should be long enough to cover the knees. Let’s answer some questions.
Can a woman wear pants to a mosque?
Women are allowed to wear pants when visiting a mosque, but it is recommended to choose clothing that is not form-fitting or revealing. This practice is encouraged out of respect for the worshipers, as it ensures that men who come to pray can focus on their worship without distractions or discomfort related to the attire of others.
Can girls go to the mosque to pray?
Women can go to pray in the mosque. They can perform the act of prayer. Almost all mosques have special areas for women to worship.
Can women wear low-cut dresses to the mosque?
If you are a tourist who wants to visit a mosque in Turkey, you are given a scarf to cover your hair and an outfit if your body is uncovered when you enter the mosque. This is more common in tourist areas. In non-touristy areas you are not allowed to enter the mosque with low-cut clothes.
What should a non muslim woman wear to a mosque?
A non-Muslim woman should wear clothes that do not show her body when going to the mosque. It is not appropriate to wear cleavage and short skirts.