Suleymaniye Mosque (Professor Sıddık Sami Onar Caddesi, Istanbul) — the truly staggering size of the Süleymaniye Camii (Suleymaniye Mosque) is one of its most distinctive features – built by the legendary architect, Mimar Sinan, it is known as one of his masterpieces, and his largest design. It is not just the awe-inspiring size that is impressive (the central dome stands 47m high), but also the elegantly decorated interior. The sense of space and light is emphasized the supporting semi-domes to the northwest and southeast and the monumental arched spaces to the southwest and northeast. It took eight years to build, and was completed in 1557, as tribute to Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent. The beautiful Suleymaniye Mosque is a fitting tribute to both the sultan and the architect. Suleyman was the longest reigning sultan of the Ottoman Empire (1520-1566), and is regarded by some as a “Second Solomon” because of the harmony and justice under his rule.
The history of the Suleymaniye Mosque hasn’t always been easy. It was ravaged by fire in 1660, and when it was restored by architect, Fossati (under the command of Sultan Mehmet IV) it was changed into a more baroque style, damaging the original design. During World War I, the courtyard was used as a weapons depot, which led to another fire when some of the munitions ignited. It wasn’t fully restored until 1956.
Free admission (donations accepted). Hours: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm daily except Fridays.