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The Ulu Mosque from 1399 in Bursa is not green – it is white with amazing black accents. Under twenty domes, the central one of which is all glass, one finds a large open space divided by thin colonnades. In the center is a fountain – something I have never seen before in a mosque. And on every wall are huge Arabic inscriptions written in “mirror script” – the word or verse is written from right to left as usual, and then meets its mirror image in the middle. Some are elongated and some are heightened, some are accented with red script, and all are absolutely gorgeous. Carved into the wooden pulpit stairway is a representation of the cosmos. For the first time I felt the real disadvantage of being on a tour – I very much wanted to sit on the carpet and spend time taking in the sacred space and time.

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