Süleymaniye Mosque was built during the 16th century and is considered to be the most beautiful of Istanbul’s imperial Mosques. It was built by Suleiman the Magnificent. Among the various mosques of Turkey, Süleymaniye Mosque is rated as one of the most visited one by travelers around the world.
The Süleymaniye Mosque was constructed by the Ottoman architect Sinan. Work began in 1550 and finished in 1557. The mosque was modeled in part on the style of the Hagia Sofia Byzantine basilica. This was perhaps a very conscious move made by Suleyman the Magnificent to create continuity as well as a symbolic connection with the city’s past.
In 1660, the mosque was ravaged by fire. It was restored by architect Fossati on the command of Sultan Mehmed IV. However, the restoration of the mosque modified it into a more baroque style, thus changing the great work significantly.
During the 19th century, the mosque was restored to its original beauty. But, during WWI, the mosque suffered another fire. It was used for weapons storage and fire broke out when some ammunition stored in the mosque ignited. Until the year 1956, the mosque was not repaired to its original condition.
Inside the Mosque
The mosque includes 6 madrasas, an imaret-soup kitchens, a hostel, a caravanserai, baths, a mental hospital, shops and the mausoleums of the Sultana Hurrem Sultan and Suleyman IV. The length of the mosque is 140 feet and the width is 190 feet. The main dome of the mosque is around 174 feet high with a diameter of about 90 feet.
To get the full view and the effect of the architect’s design and the grandeur of the mosque, one should walk to the northwest side of the mosque and enter the courtyard through the main entrance.
Anyone can visit the mosque free of cost. But, if you are not interested in taking part in prayer, then it was better to avoid visiting there at the time of prayer. Prayers are chanted in Süleymaniye Mosque, 6 times each day. The core of this mosque is very similar to the basilica with its tympana walls on the east and the west. There is also an oblong center hall. The internal design structures of this mosque are breath taking.
Travelling to Süleymaniye Mosque is very easy, as it is located in the central part of the city of Istanbul. One can get there via tram, metro train services, public buses and taxi service. It is one of the must-see places in Istanbul that has plenty of historical importance.