When you enter the grounds at the Grand mosque, intricately carved shelves invite you to take of your shoes and store them neatly in perfectly spaced cubes. You wonder for just a moment, about those who may place their shoes at the very top of these incredibly tall shelves and what the may look like, but then the beauty and grandeur have have better uses for your thoughts. Your newly released toes soak up the cool marble beneath, allowing you to exhale. Shoulders fall.
Pointed repeating archways welcome you into the inner courtyard, overlooking the jewel-toned canal, where the cool breeze joins you to enjoy the view. You close your eyes for a moment as you walk, feet moving from cold to warm tiles as the sun reaches in. Black lacquered double doors gleam like freshly shined shoes with golden accents. They feel as heavy as they look, yet open silently. Soft carpet cushions your steps as your head turns skyward and your mouth simultaneously drops open. Gilded dome after gilded dome exude their strength holding crystal chandeliers the size of baby elephants, dwarfing the mere mortals below. Suddenly aware of your significance, you daren't walk under them, instead stepping to the side spinning slowly around as your walk, head still upward, mouth still open. As your full spin is complete your eyes lower to discover arches creating separate spaces yet with no division at all. Your stride has no purpose as each step leads you to a new vantage point of discovery and yet another reason your lower jaw remains heavy.
I am a non-religious, female, but often people don't know that you can visit sites like these. I didn't know either but I asked for permission, and the only requirement like many temples and places of religious significance, require that visitors dress modestly and sometimes you need to cover your head. Also, be sure to visit in-between prayer times.
Men, women and children, can visit, being mindful to be dressed modestly, and enjoy the beauty of the architecture, the acoustics the space was designed for, the detail, colors, patterns and most of all, the airiness that spiritual places across the world seem to have. It's like a feeling and a sound all at once.⠀
I ride past this mosque every day, and it has inspired many of my artworks. I've included my art below for you to see how my travels, and cultural experiences pour directly into my artwork and I hope these also give you a way to see and keep your memories of your travels too.
Please drop me a note below, or tap the heart to like, to let me know that you like my artwork and I'd love to connect with you on Instagram too.
You can find my artworks HERE
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