The Süleymaniye Mosque is one of the most famous Turkish mosques. This Ottoman Imperial mosque is situated on the Third Hill of Istanbul, Turkey. It is considered to be one of the largest mosques of Europe, and is an adorable site of the city.

Suleymaniye Mosque

History of Süleymaniye Mosque

The Süleymaniye Mosque was founded upon the orders of Sultan Süleyman, and is a piece of work of architect of Mimar Sinan. The construction started in 1550 and ended in 1558.

The vast religious place is a blend of Islamic and Byzantine architectural elements. It has combined the tall, slender minarets with high domed buildings. Half domes of this mosque are styled like the Byzantine church Hagia Sophia.

The design of the Süleymaniye has been magnificent, referencing to the Dome of the Rock which was constructed where the Temple of Solomon is present.

The Süleymaniye was destroyed by a fire in 16th century, but got restored by Sultan Mehmed IV. Some of its parts collapsed as a result of the earthquake of 1766. Subsequently damaged parts were repaired. Until 1956, the mosque wasn’t fully restored.

Exterior of Süleymaniye Mosque

Like many other imperial mosques of Turkey, the Süleymaniye Mosque has been preceded by a monumental courtyard (avlu) on the western side. It has beautiful grandeur with a colonnaded peristyle having marble columns, as well as of granite and porphyry. There are four minarets at the end of its four corners of the courtyard. The minarets have 10 galleries (serifes), indicating that Suleiman I was the 10th Ottoman sultan.

The main dome of this mosque is 53m high, having diameter of 27.5m. In those days, the dome used to be the highest point of the Ottoman Empire, but lower from the Hagia Sophia.

Interior of Süleymaniye Mosque

The interior of the mosque looks like an appealing square with 59m length and 58m width, and forms a single vast space. The dome is flanked by semi-domes, having arches with tympana-filled windows in the northern and southern sides. These are supported by enormous porphyry monoliths. Sinan had made an architectural innovation for masking the high north-south buttresses which were required for supporting the central piers.

The interior decoration is subtle, having restrained use of Iznik tiles. The mosque is made beautiful with white marble mihrab and mimbar which look simple yet very attractive. Also woodwork is done with simple ivory and pearl designs.

Complex of Süleymaniye Mosque

The Süleymaniye Mosque was designed as a külliye, or complex having adjacent structures to fulfill religious and cultural requirements of the people. The original complex had a mosque, hospital (darüşşifa), primary school, public baths, a Caravanserai, four Quran schools, , a school for Hadith students, a medical college, and a public kitchen which was purposed to serve food to the poor and needy individuals. Fortunately, many of these structures still exist but have totally lost their charm. For example, the tombs of Sultan Suleiman I, his wife Hürrem Sultan (Roxelana) and their daughter Mihrimah Sultan are present here. Outside the mosque is present the tomb of architect Sinan.

You will surely love to explore this marvelous mosque, a perfect religious and cultural spot of Turkey.


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