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What to wear when touring houses of worship on our Greek/Turkey trip

What is the appropriate dress for visiting as tourists mosques, synaguoges and greek orthodox churches? We wish to be respectful, and want to make sure we pack the right items. Men's and ladies' dress suggestions welcomed!

Posted by
2806 posts

Generally 'cover knees, shoulders and cleavage.' Women bring a light shawl or scarf if headwear is required in mosques. A proper short sleeve rather than a woman' s cap sleeve. But every site may have variations. Some provide rented or paper coverings at a cost, others turn you away. Covered knees and shoulders for men as well, and take off headwear.

Posted by
1628 posts

Men should cover their head when entering a synagogue. A woman might as well, particularly if it is an orthodox congregation, but I’m really not sure what would be expected of women.

Posted by
915 posts

Mosques usually ask women to cover body and head. We went to Turkey in March and it was easiest to just wear pants and a jacket and take a scarf along to cover your head. Also remember that you have to take your shoes off so I would wear socks.

I've never seen men who aren't in shorts turned away from a mosque. So the guys should be fine.

Posted by
3263 posts

This illustration is typical of what we experienced at functioning mosques in Istanbul. Pants are okay. Socks are a must. Nothing special is required for former churches or mosques that are now tourist sights, like the Hagia Sophia.

Extra info that you might not expect, but that might also affect what you pack:

The cleanest toilets are often those at a mosque, but not all stalls will have western toilets. Also, used toilet paper is not flushed, but rather placed in a waste basket near the toilet in both Turkey and Greece. This is because the sewage systems have not kept up with the population and cannot handle the toilet paper. (Istanbul 2018 population -- 15 million.)

All western toilets I encountered in Istanbul had little faucets that activated a butt washer, so the used paper isn't as disgusting as it sounds. Unfortunately, I encountered no western toilets in Greece that had butt washers, so it is a bit disgusting. I also encountered places in Greece with western toilets that lacked seats or squat toilets only.

Posted by
16846 posts

Ah, yes, the toilets. If you're wearing full-length pants, it may be prudent to roll them up before proceeding. The best tip I have read is to bend forward first, then squat. It's easier to maintain your balance that way.

You cannot assume there will be a place to hang up a purse, so if you are traveling with someone else, I strongly suggest leaving the purse with the second person.

Posted by
5728 posts

We saw people who were not appropriately dressed being given shawls and loose pants at an historic Greek Orthodox Church.