10 Mosques To Visit While In Istanbul
10 Mosques To Visit While In Istanbul
Istanbul is famous for its Mosques and Ottoman architecture. The most famious are 10 mosques to visit while in Istanbul. As the capital of the Ottoman Empire since 1453 and the largest city in Turkey, Istanbul is home to over 3000 mosques. This makes it overwhelming to decide which ones to visit, but here are 10 of the most important mosques to see based on their architectural character and historical context. So here is 10 Mosques To Visit While In Istanbul.
1- Sultanahmet (The Blue Mosque) – Istanbul/Sultanahmet.
This 17th century mosque, facing Hagia Sophia, is famous for its beautiful blue tile work ornamenting its interior walls. Its six slim minarets distinguish it from other mosques, which normally have two or four minarets.
It was built from 1609 to 1616, during the rule of Ahmed I. Like many other mosques, it also houses the tomb of the founder, a madrasah and a hospice. Sultanahmet is one of the most popular, and important, tourist attractions in Istanbul.
Sultanahmet incorporates some Byzantine elements of Hagia Sophia along with traditional Islamic architecture.
2. Suleymaniye Mosque – Istanbul/Fatih
This mosque is appraised as Turkey’s master architect, Mimar Sinan’s most significant work.. Süleymaniye, the largest mosque in Istanbul. The design of the Süleymaniye also plays on Süleyman’s self-conscious representation of himself as a ‘second Solomon’. It references the Dome of the Rock, which was built on the site of the Temple of Solomon. The Süleymaniye, similar in magnificence to the preceding structures, asserts Süleyman’s historical importance.
3. Ayasofya (Hagia Sofia Mosque) – Istanbul/Sultanahmet
Hagia Sophia, famous in particular for its massive dome, is said to have “changed the history of architecture.” While it was built in 360 as the Greek Patriarchal cathedral of Constantinople, in 1453 it was converted into a mosque. That is until 1931, when it was secularized and turned into a museum.
It was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand years.
The current building (third one to occupy the site) was originally built as a church around 532 on the orders of Emperor Justinian. It was designed by the Greek scientists Isidore of Miletus, a physicist, and Anthemius of Tralles, a mathematician.
Of great artistic value is its decorated interior with beautiful mosaics and marble pillars. At one point the temple itself was so richly and artistically decorated that Justinian proclaimed, “Solomon, I have outdone thee!”
4. Eyup Sultan Mosque – Istanbul/Eyup
Eyup Sultan Mosque is among 10 mosques to visit while in Istanbul. The mosque was erected by Mehmet the Conqueror over the tomb of Halid bin Zeyd Ebu Eyyûb (known as Eyüp Sultan), the standard bearer for the Prophet Mohammed as well as the last survivor of his inner circle of trusted companions.
It is popularly accepted that while serving as commander of the Arab forces during the siege of 668 to 669, Eyüp was killed and buried on the outskirts of the city. One of the conditions of peace after the Arab siege was that the tomb of Eyüp be preserved.
The burial site was “discovered” during Mehmet the Conqueror’s siege on the city, although the tomb is mentioned in written accounts as early as the 12th century.
5. Ulu Mosque – Bursa
Commissioned by Sultan Yıldırım Bayezid I, Bursa Grand Mosque was opened in 1399 and built in the Seljuk style of architecture, consisting of both Seljuk and early Ottoman elements. The mosque’s 20 domes are arranged in four rows of five and are supported by 12 columns. This arrangement divides the large, 2200-square meter rectangular room into sections, allowing for a sense of privacy in the midst of the building’s enormity.
It will be great experience to visit Bursa from Istanbul by ferries departing a few times a day in Yenikapi.
6. Fatih Mosque – Istanbul/Fatih
The Fatih Mosque is among 10 mosques to visit while in Istanbul. The Fatih Mosque is a mosque in Tirilye, which was converted from an 8th-century Byzantine church dedicated to Saint Theodore. The building was constructed between 720 and 730 AD, originally as the Church of Christ and Saint Stephen. After the Ottoman conquest of the town, it was converted to a mosque and named “Fatih”, which means “conquest”. The mosque was briefly rededicated as a church during the Greek occupation of the area in the Greco-Turk.
7. Ortakoy Mosque – Istanbul/Ortakoy
10 Mosques To Visit While In Istanbul especially Ortaköy Mosque, officially the Büyük Mecidiye Camii in Beşiktaş, Istanbul, Turkey, is situated at the waterside of the Ortaköy pier square, one of the most popular locations on the Bosphorus.
8. Yeni (New) Mosque – Istanbul/Eminonu
Begun by Valide Safiye, mother of Sultan Mehmet III, in 1597, the mosque was designed by the architect Da’ud Aga, a pupil of Sinan. The chosen site was then a poor neighborhood; the inhabitants were paid to move out.
Construction initially dragged on for several decades due to water seeping and funding problems, then stopped completely when the sultan died – Safiye was no longer the Queen Mother so she no longer had the revenues or power to support the project.
The mosque was completed by another queen mother, Valide Sultan Turhan Hattice, mother of Mehmet IV (1642-93).
9. Beyazit Mosque – Istanbul/Fatih
Beyazit Mosque is located in Beyazit, just in the middle of the Istanbul University, Beyazit Square and the Grand Bazaar triangle. It is one of the most popular mosques in Istanbul.
Beyazit Mosque has a square plan with a dome of 16.87m in diameter and placed on four columns. The ceiling structure of the sanctum sanctorum is also composed of the two half-domes supporting the main dome.
Beyazit Mosque was built in 1505 during the era of Sultan Beyazit II and it has a typical Ottoman architecture. The area was a complex that include a mosque, a madrasah (religious school), a Turkish bath, a caravanserai, a hostel and a primary school.
10. Mihrimah Sultan Mosque – Istanbul/Uskudar
Mihrimah Sultan Mosque is among 10 mosques to visit while in Istanbul. When the daughter of the Ottoman Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent turned 17, two powerful men wanted to marry her. The name of Süleyman’s daughter was Mihrimah which meant in Persian “the sun and the moon”. One of the two men was a provincial governor while the other was the famous Architect Sinan, whose greatest works include the Suleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul. At the time, despite being madly in love with her, Sinan was 50 and already married. So Mihrimah married the governor. Soon thereafter, Sinan was commissioned by the Palace, to build a Mihrimah mosque in Üsküdar. When finished, the mosque looked like a woman with her hair reaching down below. After a while, still in love, Sinan started building this time on his own (without being commissioned) on the European side of Istanbul on a high hill a small mosque, also named Mihrimah.