Have you ever visited one of the Cappadocia mosques?
If not, do not make the mistake that most visitors make by ignoring these treasures.
Just as Cappadocia is home to many ancient churches, it is also a showcase for Muslim places of prayer and worship. If you are coming to Cappadocia you will see mosques with amazing architecture.
Every Mosque has a history. Every Imam has a story. Perhaps you have been a bit intimidated and did not want to offend anyone. But if you want to have a look inside at the magnificent domes and ornate woodwork, you should know that you are welcome to visit.
In visiting the Aladdin Camii in Avanos and speaking with Hoca Yunus Torun I learned a great deal about him and his mosque, and I am excited to write about it in a future post.
But first, so you will feel comfortable, let me give you the guidelines for visiting a mosque in Cappadocia (and all of Turkey for that matter).
1. No Shoes: As you enter the mosque you will see shelving for your shoes. You may enter barefoot or with socks, but please do not step on carpeted areas with your shoes.
2. Appropriate Clothing: Generally tourists come to Cappadocia wearing clothes that are appropriate in their home countries. T-shirts and shorts are worn for comfort in the hot summers here in Cappadocia. However, if you are visiting a mosque they would appreciate skirts for women and pants for men. They do not require a head covering for women.
3. Worship Times: The bigger mosques are open at all times. You may participate in any of the five-times-a-day prayer services (generally 15 minutes, on Friday noon-time 45 minutes). If you choose to do so, they encourage you to sit in the back while they are doing their prayers. You may also feel free to visit at non-worship times, while the mosque is empty. They wanted me to make sure everyone knows the doors are always open at the main mosque in Avanos, and Islam is open to everyone. [Note: the smaller mosques may be closed at less busy times of the day.]
Unfortunately, there is a shortage of information for tourists at Mosques in Cappadocia. At the mosque in the center of Avanos they have a daily verse from the Quran in English. However, if you want to know more about the Mosque and its history or their prayer and worship times, you better bring a guide to translate. There is no special program of welcome or introduction in English or any other language at this time. This is one of the reasons we are writing this series.
I was fascinated to find a mosque in my town of Avanos that has had renovations from three different empires here in Turkey. The main worship hall was built in 1202 by the Selcuks. Later it was renovated by the Ottomans. Two additional rooms were added under the Turkish Republic.
Just like the ancient cave churches here, these are tremendous historical finds. I would recommend visiting one of these places on your visit to Cappadocia. You may discover something fascinating just like I did!
Have you had any experience in a Mosque in Turkey? What did you learn that you can share with us?
Mosque posts you will want to check out:
* Avanos’ Alaettin Mosque- 800 Years of History
* Nevşehirli Damat Ibrahim Paşa Camii – Nevşehir Cappadocia