Saturday, August 27, 2011

New Mosque (Yeni Camii) - Istanbul, Turkey

Iznik tiles work
Interestingly, New Mosque (Yeni Camii) in Istanbul is not that new after all. The construction of Yeni Camii also known as Valide Sultan Camii (Mosque of the Queen Mother) had begun under the instruction of Valide Safiye, mother of Sultan Mehmet III, in 1597. Work on the mosque ceased when Valide Safiye died. Daud Aga, a student of Sinan (the great Ottoman architect) was the architect of the building and after more than half a century, it was completed in 1663. Regarded as a work of piety, it was the queen mother of Sultan Mehmet IV, Valide Sultan Turhan Hadice who completed this mosque.

It is easy to reach this mosque, from Sultanahmet, we took a tram and alighted at the EminönĂ¼ tram station. The mosque is adjacent to the Spice Bazaar and overlooking the harbour next to Galata Bridge. You will be amazed with hundreds of pigeons on the yard between the Spice Bazaar and Yeni Camii. Like any other Ottoman mosques the exterior has a huge courtyard, two tall minarets and cascades of domes (66 domes), whilst the interior is decorated with blue, green and white Iznik tiles and marble. Although the tiles decorations are considered to be somewhat inferior to other mosques during the period, but to me, the rustic calligraphy is still impressive. 

We spent some moment sitting on a bench near the mosque to sip our coffee and enjoy the huge giant ‘pretzel’ while admiring the exterior of the mosque,  watching people passing by and the pigeons flocking every space for the thrown morsels. 

Huge giant pretzels
You can buy the pigeons' feed from the folks 
The pigeons pecking their morsels
Ornamental ablution fountain in the center courtyard
Exterior of Yeni Camii
Remind me of Cordoba Mequita
Tiles work in blue and white
Decorative ornament with beautiful calligraphy
Yeni Camii from Eminonu 
One of the two minarets

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Silver Leaf Monkeys of Bukit Malawati - Kuala Selangor, Malaysia

Great pose of the mama and her baby

Depending on the traffic, Kuala Selangor which is about slightly more than an hour drive from Kuala Lumpur is well known for its fireflies sighting in Kampung Kuantan and Kampung Belimbing. However, there's another interesting spot within the town of Kuala Selangor that should not be missed - Malawati Hill.

He's cool...enjoying his long beans on a visitor's car
We happened to be early for the fireflies, so we decided to visit Bukit (Hill) Malawati to have a look at the silver leaf monkeys. It was interesting to be greeted with troops of friendly monkeys waiting to be fed. There were so many visitors carrying with them bananas and nuts but the petty traders there sold bunches of long beans and water cress for feeding. I am surprise that the monkeys love the water cress!

Interestingly, these monkeys have silvery colour furs and punk hair style...not sure who copied who...but the monkeys must have had it much early than mankind :). Their babies have orange fur but as they grow up the fur will get darker and finally become silvery grey like the others.

These monkeys are safe to play with and all you have to do is to lure them with food.  As more people flooded the place so were the number of monkeys, almost out numbering the visitors. It was monkeys' party with laughter, shouts and everyone was busy photographing themselves with these camera friendly creatures. Thanks to these monkeys...The kids had a good time with them.

Nice pose guys :)
Perhaps a family meeting
The Koreans close encounter with the monkeys
Monkey party
Looking for something!
Greeting the visitors
He's begging for food
Friendly monkeys
Climbing for the water cress leaves