Istanbul is a city that is steeped in history and culture, and one of the most magnificent landmarks that attest to this fact is the Suleymaniye Mosque. This stunning mosque, located on the Third Hill of Istanbul’s historic peninsula, is one of the most impressive examples of Ottoman architecture in the city, and it has become an iconic symbol of Istanbul’s skyline. In this article, we will explore the fascinating history and architecture of the Suleymaniye Mosque and provide you with everything you need to know to plan your visit.
History of the Suleymaniye Mosque
The Mosque was commissioned by Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, who ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1520 to 1566. The mosque was designed by the famous Ottoman architect Sinan, who was responsible for many of Istanbul’s most beautiful buildings, including the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne and the Kılıç Ali Pasha Mosque in Istanbul.
Construction of the Suleymaniye Mosque began in 1550 and was completed in 1558. The mosque was built on the site of the original Suleymaniye Complex, which included a hospital, a school, a kitchen, and a hamam. The complex was intended to serve the needs of the community, and it provided food, shelter, and education to the poor and the homeless.
Architecture of the Suleymaniye Mosque
The Suleymaniye Mosque is a masterpiece of Ottoman architecture, and it showcases the incredible skill and creativity of the Ottoman craftsmen and architects. The mosque is built in the classical Ottoman style, with a central dome and four minarets, and it is surrounded by a spacious courtyard that is accessible from four entrances.
The interior of the mosque is breathtaking, with its high ceilings, intricate tile work, and beautiful calligraphy. The central dome is supported by four massive pillars, and it is decorated with a stunning array of intricate designs and patterns. The mihrab, which indicates the direction of Mecca, is made of marble and is adorned with beautiful calligraphy.
The mosque also features a large prayer hall, which can accommodate up to 10,000 worshipers. The prayer hall is divided into two sections, one for men and one for women, and it is decorated with beautiful carpets and chandeliers.
Things to See and Do at the Suleymaniye Mosque
The Mosque is not only a place of worship but also a cultural and historical landmark. Visitors to the mosque can explore the beautiful architecture and learn about the rich history of the Ottoman Empire.
One of the most impressive features of the mosque is the stunning view of Istanbul’s skyline from the courtyard. The mosque is located on a hill overlooking the Golden Horn, and the view from the courtyard is simply breathtaking. Visitors can also explore the various buildings that make up the Suleymaniye Complex, including the hospital, the school, and the hamam.
Another must-see attraction at the Suleymaniye Mosque is the tomb of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent and his wife, Haseki Hurrem Sultan. The tomb is located in a separate building adjacent to the mosque and is decorated with beautiful tile work and calligraphy.
Visitors to the mosque can also attend the daily prayers, which are held five times a day. The prayers are open to the public, and visitors are welcome to participate.
Getting to the Suleymaniye Mosque
The Suleymaniye Mosque is located in the Fatih district of Istanbul, on the Third Hill of the historic peninsula. The easiest way to get to the mosque is by taking the tram to the Eminonu or Sultanahmet stops and then walking up the hill. Alternatively, you can take a taxi or a bus to the mosque.
Tips for Visiting
If you are planning to visit the Suleymaniye Mosque, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, the mosque is open to visitors every day from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm, except during prayer times. Second, visitors are required to remove their shoes before entering the mosque, and women are required to cover their heads. Third, photography is allowed inside the mosque, but flash photography is not permitted.
The Suleymaniye Mosque is a true gem of Istanbul’s skyline, and it is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Ottoman architecture and history. With its stunning dome, beautiful tile work, and rich history, the mosque is sure to leave a lasting impression on visitors. Whether you are a local or a tourist, a visit is an experience that you will never forget.