Travel Abroad: The Silk Road Leads to Istanbul, Turkey

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Sultan Ahmed Mosque
No matter your religious persuasion, this historic mosque built to completion in 1616 is worth a pilgrimage.

Also called the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles that decorate one of the inner walls, the design alone will have beauty and architecture junkies swooning. While waiting on line to enter (don’t worry the line moves relatively fast) visitors in the expansive courtyard can gawk at the towering minarets and painstakingly decorated domes. Once inside, there’s more to appreciate including a network of concentric-circled chandeliers, awe-inducing dome design, and stained- glass windows.

Leave the stinky socks at home, but don’t forget your bring Pashmina; you’ll have to take your shoes off before entering the carpeted mosque, and ladies are encouraged to cover their heads. The mosque closes for 90 minutes five times a day during designated prayer times. Entry is free.

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