Saturday, July 30, 2022

The Painted Mosque

 Macedonia's history includes centuries of rule by the Ottoman Empire (and before that by the orthodox Byzantines). The Ottoman's brought Islam to the region, and many of the Macedonians of Albanian heritage still are Muslim. 

Side note, the Macedonians are fine with most Muslims. But the few Mosques that have 2, not 1 prayer tower, are Wahabi Muslims from Saudi Arabia. They do NOT like them.

Okay, back to the point. In the late 1400s, a mosque was built in a town about 20 miles outside Skopje. It was damaged (earthquake) and rebuilt in the early 1800s. And in the 1800s, the local Muslims were super impressed by Italian frescos. So they painted the Mosque with frescos by imported artists. And this Mosque is famous in the Balkans and Turkey as the "Painted Mosque." It is... well you check it out below.

Required selfie

Exterior walls

Detail of ceiling

It isn't super large, but it is very ornate.

Outside garden with prayer rugs.

Like all Mosques I have been to, you have to take off your shoes, and women have to cover their heads (they lend scarfs). There were a few people praying, even though it wasn't one of the official prayer times, but I heard these were scholars and Imans in  training.

See, words like "amazing" and "fantastic" I have used to much, but only because I can't find other words to express the inside. Such great and still vibrant frescos. Because this is still used as a church.

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