Suleymaniye : the Most Beautiful Mosque of Istanbul
Suleymaniye Mosque is famous for it’s perfect proportions and masterfully painted interiors. It is also the most important mosque in Istanbul.
Tips for visiting Süleymaniye Mosque
The Mosque sits atop the most distinguished hill above the Golden Horn, and remains among the most noticeble and popular monuments in the city.
The structure itself is is perfectly harmonious, despite its huge central dome, surrounded by smaller domes and string like minarets . The height of the four minarets is so perfectly modeled that it creates the illusion that the mosque floats above the city. geometric patterns and kaleidoscopic calligraphy ring the inside of minor domes that appear to froth around the central dome stands nearly 175 feet above the floor.
Süleymaniye Mosque Architecture
It is believed to be the main building of the architect Sinan, who has widely contributed to the Renaissance architecture in Istanbul for the sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, by Mimar Sinan, the Frank Gehry of his time.Moreover, from this gorgeous mosque, one can immerse themselves in the views of the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. It is surrounded by several other interesting structures including the graves of the characters of the “Magnificent Age” series – Sultan Suleiman and Roksolana, madrasahs, baths, and lastly, several buildings that can be traced back to the 16th century.
For more than 450 years, the Suleymaniye Mosque has been situated in the same place, despite several earthquakes including those whose estimated strength was at 7 points. It is unsurprising that Suleymaniye has been able to withstand several natural calamities, as the architect of this grand mosque – Sinan – declared that “This mosque will stand forever!”.
Suleymaniye Mosque Legends
There are several legends that are associated with the Suleymaniye mosque. One of the legends says that once before the ruler of Persia (at that time he and Padishah Suleiman were at the stage of the “cold war”) rumors reached that the construction of the shrine had been delayed. At this point Shah decided to belittle the Sultan by sending him several gems, diamonds, and other precious stones, implying that the Ottomans were dealing with the lack of funds. Needless to say, Sultan Suleiman was offended. He directed the architect to use up all the Persian jewels to create the foundation of one of the minarets.
Another interesting aspect of this great mosque is that there are Ostrich eggs positioned between all the lamps, as it is believed to be a great way to ward off spiders and insects.
In Istanbul, Suleymaniye is the largest and most extensive Muslim temple and it was built in line with the design of Mimar Sinan. The building has the capacity of accommodating 5000 parishioners.
Things to do
After visiting the mosque, you can dine at some of the nearby cafes with outdoor terraces including Mihrişah Cafe or Mimar Sinan Teras Cafe. On Suleymaniye’s east, there are several rare streets hosting wooden Istanbul buildings that are very old. However, they are being replaced by newer buildings at a rapid pace.
The Suleymaniye Mosque is situated in proximity to the Eminonu ferry pier. In order to reach the mosque and immerse in its spectacular glory, you must get on the T1 tram at the Sultanahmet Square and get off at the Eminönü stop. Then, take a quick walk towards the Egyptian Bazaar and the New Mosque.
Upon reaching the Egyptian Bazaar, take a right turn and walk for 3 minutes, before you enter the shopping lanes. Then, walk up the hill for 8 to 10 minutes to find Suleymaniye Mosque. You can always ask vendors or passers-by for directions to reach “Suleymaniye”.