Blue Istanbul Apart

SÜLEYMANİYE MOSQUE

It’s an easy walk of less than 10 minutes around the university from Beyazıt Square and the Grand Bazaar to the Süleymaniye.

After three years of extensive restorations by architects and calligraphers under the watchful eye of architectural historians, and expenses of TL21 million, the mosque was re-opened to visitors during Kurban Bayramı in 2010.

To get the full effect of the architect’s design and Süleymaniye’s grandeur, you should walk to the northwest side of the mosque on Şifahane Sokak and enter the courtyard by this main entrance and through the grand courtyard.

The mosque is open every day, for free. If you are not Muslim, avoid visiting within 30 minutes after the call to prayer, and from noon to late afternoon on Friday (the Muslim holy day).

Inside the Süleymaniye is simply breathtaking in its expanse, a near-square 58 meters (63 yards) by 59 meters (64 yards). Süleyman—and his genius architect, Mimar Sinan—attempted to rival the spaciousness of Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia) by hiding the massive buttresses that support the dome, incorporating the buttresses into the walls, and adding rows of porphyry monolith columns beneath the tympanums on either side. Although not as large as Ayasofya, the Süleymaniye exceeds it in feelings of light and openness.

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