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Istanbul’s Historical Mosques

Written by Teoman Turan.

This article was published on 06 Oct 2022

The mosques in Istanbul are one of the silhouettes that reflect the beauty of the city. Today we will briefly talk about these mosques. The magnificent centuries-old sultan mosques from the Ottoman Empire, the masterpieces of Mimar Sinan‘s genius, and the magnificent mosques built by the valide sultans…

SULTANAHMET MOSQUE (BLUE MOSQUE)

Sultanahmet Mosque

The Blue Mosque, which was built in the era of Ahmet I, is called Blue Mosque by the Europeans because it is decorated with blue and green tiles and the interior of its large dome is predominantly blue. After the Hagia Sophia became a museum in 1935, it became the main mosque of Istanbul. Some buildings from the mosque’s complex, which is one of the largest structures in Istanbul with its social complex, could not survive to the present day. The chain, hanging on the north door of the mosque, reminded the greatness of Allah and became a symbol of the equality of all who enter the mosque. Even the sultans of the period would bow their heads to avoid hitting this chain.  

EDIRNEKAPI MOSQUE

Edirnekapi Mosque

The mosque, located right next to the Walls of Constantinople, was built by Mimar Sinan between 1562 and 1565 for Mihrimah Sultan, daughter of Suleyman I. There is a school, madrasah, baths and a tomb around the mosque. Mimar Sinan kept a secret between Edirnekapı and Mihrimah Sultan Mosque in Üsküdar, which he built for his great love. Mihrimah means moon and sun and Mimar Sinan made a mind blowing calculation. As the sun sets behind the single minaret of the Edirnekapı Mosque, the moon rises between the minarets of Mihrimah Sultan Mosque in Üsküdar. 

MIHRIMAH SULTAN MOSQUE

Mihrimah Sultan Mosque

Mihrimah Sultan Mosque, where a love story is poured into architectural art, is one of the test works of Mimar Sinan, who tells his love for the daughter of Suleiman the Magnificent Mihrimah Sultan with ciphers. Mihrimah Sultan Mosque, which also has the characteristics of a social complex, consists of a madrasa, soup kitchen, primary school and caravanserai. According to the legend, when Mihrimah Sultan reached the age of marriage, 2 people were seen suitable for her: When Rustem Pasha was chosen for this marriage. The great artist Mimar Sinan obeys this decision and buries the love that even her name awakens in him. However, this innocent love will continue to show itself in his works. The mind-blowing Mihrimah Sultan and Edirnekapı Mosque are the works of art of a platonic lover.

SULEYMANIYE MOSQUE (BLUE MOSQUE)

Suleymaniye Mosque

The Suleymaniye Mosque, which was built in 1557 by Mimar Sinan in the name of Suleiman the Magnificent, is considered to be the work of his journeyman era. The Suleymaniye Complex consists of a mosque, madrasas, library, hospital, primary school, hammam, soup kitchen, burial ground and shops. Despite the fact that more than a hundred earthquakes have occurred in Istanbul since its construction, the Suleymaniye Mosque, which is one of the most symbolic examples of Classical Ottoman Architecture, has not suffered any damage. On the qibla side of the mosque, there is a burial ground in which Suleiman the Magnificent and his wife Hurrem Sultan (Roxelana) are located. The mosque has 4 minarets. The reason for this is, Suleiman is the fourth sultan after the conquest of Istanbul; the ten honors on these four minarets indicate that he was the tenth sultan of the Ottoman Empire.

NEW MOSQUE

New Mosque

New Mosque was started in 1597 by the order of Safiye Sultan, the wife of Sultan Murad III, and was completed in 1665 with the great efforts and donations of Hatice Sultan, the mother of Mehmed IV. It stands out as a symbolic example of Classical Ottoman architecture. Known as the mosque whose construction was completed in the longest period of time in Ottoman-era Turkish architecture, the New Mosque can be seen from many parts of Istanbul. The most important building of its complex is undoubtedly the Spice Bazaar. Spice Bazaar is the second largest indoor covered bazaar in Istanbul after the Grand Bazaar. In the Spice Bazaar, which has close to a hundred shops, goods from Cairo and Egypt and especially spices were sold in the past. 

EYUP SULTAN MOSQUE

Eyup Sultan Mosque

Eyup Sultan Mosque, which has a very important place in Turkish and Islamic history, is the first mosque built after the conquest of Istanbul. It takes its name from Abu Eyyup El Ansari, who hosted Muhammad in his own home during the Hijrah. Eyup Sultan died during the second siege of Constantinople, which he participated in, approximately 1250 years ago. It is said that he was buried under the walls of Constantinople on his will. Eyup, which is one of the districts of Istanbul and where its mosque is located, is also named after him. Ottoman sultans used to gird themselves in the sword procession in front of Eyup Sultan Tomb. Ahmet Hasim, Sokullu Mehmed Pasha, Fevzi Cakmak are also buried here in the tomb.

ORTAKOY MOSQUE

Ortakoy Mosque

Ortakoy Mosque, which is in Neo Baroque style, adorns the Bosphorus and Bosphorus Bridge in many photographs. It was built by the Armenian architect Nigoğos Balyan in 1853 by Sultan Abdulmecid. It consists of the parts, the harem and the sultan’s part. The Sultan’s section is available for the sultan to pray and rest. It was repaired by the Ministry of Evkaf in 1909, after it suffered great damage in the 1894 earthquake. There are symbolic examples of Turkish calligraphy on its inner walls. Some of these handicrafts were made by Sultan Abdulmecid, who was also a master calligrapher.

HIRKA-İ ŞERİF MOSQUE

Hırka-i Şerif Mosque

It was built by Sultan Abdulmecid for the preservation of the cardigan that the Islamic prophet Mohammed gifted to Veysel Karani. The mosque has a very important place in the religious folklore of Istanbul, as it is the place where the Holy Mantle is kept. After Veysel Karani’s death, Holy Mantle, which was left to the Uveysi family, was brought to Istanbul in the early 17th century in accordance with the edict of Ahmet I. In the mosque, there are units for the protection and visit of the Holy Mantle, a sultan’s lodge and a sultan’s pavilion. In addition to these there is a building for the oldest male member of the Uveysi family and for his family.

BEYAZIT MOSQUE

Beyazit Mosque

Beyazit Mosque, built by Sultan Bayezid II, is among the early works of Ottoman classical period architecture.   Although it is not certain who the architect was, there are opinions that it was built by Architect Hayrettin, Architect Kemaleddin or Yakupshah bin Sultanshah It is considered to be the oldest selatin mosque in Istanbul that preserves its originality. The tomb of Bayezid II is located in the graveyard of the mosque. An extensive restoration work was initiated in August 2012. It ended in May 2020.

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