Mosque Etiquette

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Mosque Etiquette

The Turks are quite lenient about tourists visiting mosques and most are open to the public during the day, but there are some rules of etiquette:

It's best not to enter a mosque during the five daily prayer sessions, or at midday on Fridays, when attendances are higher—it's sort of the equivalent of Sunday morning for Christians or Saturday morning for Jews.

Immodest clothing is not allowed but an attendant by the door will lend you a robe if he feels you aren't dressed appropriately. For women, bare arms and legs aren't acceptable, and men should also avoid wearing shorts. Women should cover their heads before entering a mosque, though this is sometimes overlooked.

Shoes must be removed before entering a mosque; there's usually an attendant who watches over them. If you're uncomfortable leaving your shoes, put them in your backpack or handbag.

It's considered offensive for a non-Muslim to sit down in a mosque (though you may see tourists who do, despite signs requesting them not to).

It's also advisable to show respect for the sanctity of the mosque and the piety of those who might be praying, by talking only in whispers.

Don't take photographs inside the mosque, particularly of people praying.

A small donation is usually requested for the upkeep of the mosque. The equivalent of approximately $3 is appropriate.

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