It is the 15th of Ramadan 1427. I am at the terrace on top of the Armada Hotel, Istanbul.
Time check; about 15 minutes to sunset. The Captain has been kind enough to give us a table for Iftar or the breaking of the fast.
We are right at the apex of an inclined inverted triangle, the Sultan Mehmet Mosque or blue mosque and the Haghia Sophia the church turned Mosque turned museum forming the top base. Behind us the Sea of Marmara meets the Bosphorous. The setting is awesome.
Such a humongous mosque, such humongous church! It makes me wonder, why Sultan Mehmet built it, why Emperor Justinian made 20000 slaves toiled to complete the masterpiece.
Ego, legacy, phallic symbols, Mustaffa the guide opined. Pump priming the economy, I added. Putra jaya comes to mind.
The Ottoman empire was built without the Topkapi and the Grand Mosque. It is frightening to relate that the Blue Mosque and the Haghia Sophia when completed marked the beginning of the decline of the two empires.
Time check: 2030. The moon is in its glory overlooking a grand imperial city.
Note; Sultan Ahmet built it during his reign(1603-1617). The Ottoman empire collapsed at the end of the first world war. Haghia Sophia was made into a museum by Kamal Atartuk in 1939. Wise move, the Pasha. It avoids a Babri. Do empires (read religion) need mosques and churches?