Built in 1557 by the greatest of the Ottoman Sultans, Suleyman the great, this is Istanbul's largest Mosque. Despite this the mosque is hidden behind Istanbul University and takes some effort to find.
Suleiman mosque was finally constructed by famous Turkish architect Sinan in 1557. As some other mosques, the design idea was taken from famous Hagia Sophia. In 1660 it was reconstructed after big fire and more baroque details were added.
Mosque is a home of sultan Suleiman I and his wife Rolexana tombs. Mosque is also famous for its size – it had a dome of 27.25 meters diameter and 53 meters high.
This building is told to be one of the most famous sights in Istanbul, just a bit outside of historical Sultanahmet suburb.
Süleyman I was the tenth and longest ruling sultan during the long Ottoman period, reigning from 1520 at an age of 26 until 1566 at an age of 71. He was the top dog of 16th century Europe presiding over an expanding realm, respected and feared by all. A true Renaissance man, Süleyman could speak four languages, as well as being held as an accomplished poet, goldsmith and legislator. A patron of the arts, he oversaw the apogee of the Ottoman Empire.
Süleyman is also known for his lifelong attachment to a Ukrainian concubine, Hürrem Sultan, better known in the West as Roxelana. Breaking Ottoman tradition, Süleyman married her and she would give him plenty of moments of intrigue in ensuing years ensuring that her sons would succeed their father. His achievements “took many generations of decadent heirs to undo”!!
Because it is in Istanbul, many think that this mosque is the greatest work of the famous architect Mimar Sinan – they have not been to Edirne. That said, this is his greatest work in Stamboul and probably the most architecturally magnificent mosque in the city, as well. Süleyman was the longest reigning Ottoman emperor and his period represents the high point of the long run the empire enjoyed. He came to power in 1520 and by 1550, he had accomplished enough that he decided it was time for his own imperial mosque to be built. Seven years later the Süleymaniye complex was complete – four medrese, a kitchen for the poor, a hospital, a hamam, a caravanserai and a hospice for travelers in addition to the mosque and the eventual tombs for Süleyman and his wife Roxelana, daughter Mihrimah, mother, sister and two other sultans – Süleyman II and Ahemd II.
Instead of isolated pillars supporting the massive dome, Sinan incorporated them into the walls of the building – half inside and half outside – hiding them behind colonnaded galleries. Unlike inside other imperial mosques – the interior is more restrained; no excess of Iznik tiles as in the Blue Mosque.
This mosque was built by Mimar Sinan in the name of Sultan Süleyman who is also known as Magnificent Süleyman. The construction took more than 7 years and finished in 1557. It is considered to be an architectural reply to Hagia Sofia. This mosque has a larger dome compared to Byzantine Hagia Sofia. The main dome is 53 meters high and has a diameter of 26.5 meters. At the time it was built, the dome was the highest in the Ottoman Empire, when measured from sea level, but still lower from its base than that of Hagia Sophia. It is the second largest mosque in Istanbul and it has 4 minarets. The tomb of Sultan Süleyman and the tomb of his beloved wife Hürrem Sultan are located in the cemetery next to the mosque. Major renovation works in the interior and exterior have been completed recently. You can watch the video I have uploaded to see the interior details of the mosque. The renovation works are still in progress for the surrounding complexes.
The Suleymaniye Imperial Mosque is regarded by many as the most beautiful of the imperial mosques and is where Suleymaniye and his wife Roxelane are buried. It was built between 1550-1557 by the architect Sinan . It is built on the crest of a hill and is conspicuous for its great size and has four minarets at each corner of the courtyard. Make sure you make a small donation at the entry to the mosque. 1ytl
The Suleymaniye Mosque is the next in size after the Sultanahmet Mosque and has a architectural plan similar to that of the Hagia Sophia. It was built between 1550-1557 upon the second hill of Istanbul.
The mosque was under repair when I visited so I had to make do with a picture of the outside. I did enjoy a walk in the grounds and gardens including walking through the cemetry to the mausoleums of Suleyman and his wife Roxelan.
These are designed as mini mosques and have all the design and decorative features including golden ceinings and beautiful Iznik tiles.
There was no entry fee but a donation was appreciated.
Undoubtedly Istanbul's greatest mosque, Süleymaniye Camii, was completed in 1557 AD by the famous imperial architect Sinan on the orders of Soliman the Magnificent (or Süleyman in Turkish). The mosque was part of a large complex fulfilling many other functions, including a hospital, school, hammam, caravanserai and a charitable foundation. The mosque also contains the tomb of Süleyman the Magnificent and his beloved Roxelana. The location on top of one of the seven hills of Istanbul and dominating the city makes the mosque visible from all over the city and the Bosphorus, thus definining the skyline for the past five centuries. This monumental mosque is Mimar Sinan's grandest work in Istanbul. For more photos of this architectural masterpiece, go to the travelogue "The Mosque of Soliman the Magnificent".
For all the architectural wonders he built, the imperial architect, Mimar Sinan, chose to be buried in a rather modest tomb (türbe) he designed himself. If the grandeur of the tomb does not match his marvellous creations, its location however could not be more appropriate, right in the shadow of his greatest achievement in the capital of the Ottoman Empire: Süleymaniye Camii. The tomb is placed in the centre of a small triangular plot of land, with an octagonal charitable fountain at its corner to keep his memory alive. The structure was completed shortly before his death in 1588 AD.
If you turn right when, walking out of the main courtyard entrance of the Suleiman Mosque, and then down the narrow street you'll come to a junction where two roads meet. At the point where these roads meet is a small tomb with a cupola at the end. This is the tomb of Mimar Sinan (1490-1588) who was the chief Ottoman architect and civil engineer for sultans Suleiman I, Selim II, and Murad III. He was, during a period of fifty years, responsible for the construction or the supervision of every major building in the Ottoman Empire. More than three hundred structures are credited to his name which include 94 large mosques, 57 colleges, 52 smaller mosques, 48 bath-houses, 35 palaces, 22 mausoleums, 17 public kitchens, 8 bridges and 6 aqueducts.
His masterpiece is the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne (see my Edirne page), although his most famous work is the Suleiman Mosque in Istanbul. Other works in Istanbul include the Sehzade Mehmet Mosque, Rustem Pasha Mosque and Sokollu Mehmet Pasha Mosque.
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