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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sultan Hassan Mosque

We have seen many mosques in Istanbul, but none of them come close to
being nearly as moving as the Sultan Hassan Mosque we visited today.
The building is unimaginably enormous, and makes one feel humble. We
had the pleasure of hearing a live call to prayer by the imam. His singing was
very moving and beautiful.

For the past few days we have had many interesting speakers coming to
lecture. Today we had Tarek Swelim, an art historian and lecturer,
teach us about Islamic Egyptian history. His presentation was loaded
with a ton of interesting information about the main caliphates that ruled Egypt. Egypt is an
amazing country; I’m looking forward to what awaits us in the next days.

Today we visited places of worship of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. To be more specific, we saw four churches, one synagogue, two mosques, and a museum. The churches were all of the Coptic variety. The crosses they displayed were an evolution of the ankh symbol. This was done out of practicality and to disguise their religion (during the early days of Christianity). The synagogue was originally a Coptic Church but the Copts were forced to sell it to the Jews when their taxes were raised. The first mosque, Sultan Hassan, was an amazing place. We were fortunate enough to hear the imam sing a hymn. It was incredible. The day was a great mix of religions and a culture. When we returned to the hotel, we were given a lecture by Dr. Tarek Sweilam about the history of Islamic Cairo. His talk really tied what we saw today together in the context of the history of Islamic Egypt.

1 comment:

  1. One of the unique features of the Hassan mosque which has been built on an out crop and reclaimed land, is that almost half of the surface of the mosque lies over the Atlantic water and same can be seen through a gigantic glass floor.


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