One of Istanbul’s biggest mosques, the Suleymaniye Mosque is thought to be the city’s most significant. The legendary architect Sinan and Sulayman the Magnificent, who ordered its construction, are both buried inside the complex. 1550 CE marked the start of construction, which was completed in 1558 CE.
One of the most defining features of Suleymaniye Mosque is its astounding size. Designed and built by the renowned architect Mimar Sinan, it is regarded as one of his greatest works and largest creations.
The central dome is 47 meters high, but it’s not just the enormous size that is stunning; the interior is also well-furnished. The enormous arched spaces to the southwest and northeast, as well as the supporting semi-domes to the southeast and northwest, further enhance the feeling of space and light.
History of Suleymaniye Mosque
This mosque is located on the first palace the Ottoman conquerors erected in the city. The grounds of the old palace were given over to the construction of the new complex when the royal retinue relocated there in 1465 CE. The Suleymaniye Mosque was constructed between 1550 and 1558 CE. Sinan and his family were residing on the property at the time.
The Suleymaniye Mosque’s history hasn’t always been easy. When it was rebuilt by architect Fossati (at Sultan Mehmet IV’s request) after it was completely destroyed by fire in 1660, the original design was compromised in favor of a more baroque one. The courtyard was used as a weapons stockpile during World War I, which caused another fire when part of the ammunition caught fire.
The Suleymaniye Mosque was a place of prayer as well as a philanthropic organization, like the other imperial mosques in the city. In addition to schools, a caravanserai (a rest stop for travellers), a bathhouse, and a former hospital surround the mosque.
Over 1,000 poor cities, including Muslims, Christians, and Jews, were fed daily by the welfare system that was provided by this building. The size of the millstone in its courtyard provides an indication of how much grain would have been required to feed everyone.
The interior of Suleymaniye Mosque
The mosque’s interior is a huge square room, and its approximate measure is 59 meters long and 58 meters wide. The interior structure of this mosque is stunning in terms of both size and simplicity.
The inside of the mosque is incredible and extremely reminds people of the Aya Sofya, especially as the dome is almost as big as the one that tops the Byzantine basilica. On the qiblah wall, you can see blue Iznik tilework and stained-glass windows. There are big tiles on either side of the mihrab, which are designed with calligraphy text from Surah al-Fatiha and the first chapter of the Quran.
The exterior of Suleymaniye Mosque
The mosque’s courtyard, which has a central fountain, is present at the entry like it is with all other imperial mosques in Istanbul. Iznik window lunettes in a rectangular blue colour adorn the mosque’s outside facade.
There is a madressa in the south of the mosque building, which is a library with 110,000 manuscripts. The mosque astronomer’s offices, which set the prayer times, were located just inside the main courtyard door.
There are two tall and two short minarets on each of the courtyard’s four corners. Historically, mosques that were endowed by a sultan had four minarets. Only princes and princesses were permitted to build two minarets. Sulayman I was the tenth Ottoman sultan, according to tradition, because the minarets had ten galleries (little balconies). Fifty-three meters high is the primary dome.
Sultan Mehmed IV rebuilt the Suleymaniye Mosque after it was destroyed by fire in 1660. During the 1766 earthquake, a portion of the dome once more collapsed. In fact, what little of Sinan’s original decoration was left was ruined during subsequent renovations.
The courtyard was used as a weapons storage area during World War I, and when part of the ammo caught fire, the mosque is damaged by a second fire. It wasn’t completely repaired again until 1956.
Other things that are available at Suleymaniye Mosque
A madressa (religious school), soup kitchen, hospital, caravanserai, library, bazaar, and various tombs are all located within the Sülemaniye Külliyesi (mosque) complex. Even now, some of these facilities are in use. The graves of Süleyman, the Magnificent of turkey and his wife Haseki Hürrem are noteworthy (also known as Roxelana). With rich metals, stones, and stained glass inlaid, both are remarkable. Here, in the northwest corner, is also where the architect Mimar Sinan’s grave may be found.
The tombs of Sultan Sulayman I, his wife Roxelana, his daughter Mihrimah, his mother Dilaşub Saliha, and his sister Asiye are located in two mausoleums in the garden behind the main mosque. In this mosque, as well, are the graves of the sultans Sulayman II and Ahmed II.
A piece of the Hajar al-Aswad is allegedly embedded within the main tomb. This piece is part of the Black Stone, which is affixed to Makkah’s Ka’bah, the most sacred site in Islam.
The tomb of Sinan, who is regarded as the greatest architect of Ottoman architecture’s classical era is located just outside the mosque’s perimeter to the north. After constructing more than 200 structures in addition to 131 mosques, Sinan passed away at the age of 98. He was a Christian by birth before converting to Islam.
Attractions near the Suleymaniye Mosque
It is close to numerous other attractions due to its location placed in the ancient peninsula, including the Spice Bazaar, Grand Bazaar, Rustem Pasha Mosque, and New Mosque. Even the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace are accessible by walking from there.
The largest amount of Ottoman timber houses on the historical peninsula may be found in the alleys around the mosque, where many of them are currently being restored as part of an urban renewal initiative.
Where is the Suleymaniye Mosque
The easiest way for reaching to the mosque is to take a tram to Laleli University or Beyazit Grand Bazaar; from there, it is only a short walk.
The Opening hours of the Suleymaniye Mosque
The mosque is open daily from 9 am to 6 pm. However, it is closed during prayer time for visitors. There are no fees for Suleymaniye mosque, but donations are always appreciated.