I waited outside this mosque for my male friend to finish looking around: having that morning met up with a woman who had been screamed at for being improperly dressed, I was reluctant to risk the same treatment for some perceived infraction.
This site is of religious importance so I was surprised be the subject of sexual harassment there. I actually conducted an experiment whereby I stood perfectly still and allowed the leering men to circle me ever-closer, in an effort to see just how close they would actually get right inside the busy compound of the mosque.
Before my experiment was really completed my companion returned, and so it only behoves me to say if you are female and visit this place do not be lulled into thinking you will be any less harassed once you get there. After living in Istanbul for one year I can honestly say it was the most dangerous place to be female I have ever been to.
If groups of dodgy-looking men jingling change in their pockets and calling 'How much? How much?' as you nip from your house round the corner to the supermarket in broad daylight on a busy street would bother you then you might want to give Istanbul a miss. If you would be annoyed at being ripped off for every item you try to purchase (forget taking a taxi anywhere), sexually harassed by every man at every opportunity or stopped by police to be relived of your passport and then receive demands of payment for it to be returned, then I'd thoroughly recommend you to go somewhere else. A huge pity, because the city itself is unforgettable.
I've read this in the travel guides and just saw in action today: after lots of friendly talk and having come down in price only 25% (remember you MUST haggle, you are respected for this in this part of the world) the seller waited for me to come and get cash and when I got back almost wrapped my carpet in a tight parcel. Only it wasn't the one I chose.
I have corrected him though, and he was smooth as a silk on this. Remember to see your carpet wrapped. And don't forget to haggle. And, better - get some idea what carpets are about. Things are beauituful, but naive buyers are being had ruthlessly.
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