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Suleymaniye Mosque (Sultan Suleyman the Magnificient)

Suleymaniye Mosque is the second largest but finest and most magnificent of the imperial mosque complexes in the city. It’s as magnificent as its founder Suleiman the Magnificent and a masterwork of the greatest Ottoman architect, the incomparable Sinan. Suleiman the Magnificent is the 10th Sultan of Ottoman Empire who expanded the boundaries of the Empire far to Vienna’s City Walls. Conquering Vienna was his ultimate aim but he could not succeed.

The construction of the Suleiman’s Mosque began in 1550 and the mosque itself was completed in 1557. The mosque is actually a complex building with the tombs of Suleiman and his wife, Hurrem Sultan(Roxelana). The other buildings were finished some years later. The mosque is preceded by a courtyard with columns of the richest porphyry, marble and granite. At the four corners of the courtyard rise the four great minarets. The four minarets are said to signify that Suleiman was the fourth sultan to rule in Istanbul and the 10 balconies denote that he was the 10th Sultan of the Ottoman Dynasty.

Interior of Suleiman's MosqueEntering the mosque, there is a vast room, almost square in plan surmounted by a huge dome. The dome is 47 m., 150 feet and its diameter is 27.5 m, 87 feet. The stain coloured windows are lovely, the sunlight diffuses inside very nicely. The mihrab where the imam(priest) stands and the pulpit are Proconassian marble. There is also a marvellous woodwork inlaid with mother of pearl and ivory of the doors, window shutters and the preacher’s chair. There are also impressive calligraphic inscriptions by the most famous calligrapher of Ottoman Empire, Ahmet Karahisari and his pupil Hasan Celebi. The mosque is all carpeted with red prayer rugs all pointing South where Mecca is located. Next to the mosque are the turbes, the tombs of Suleiman and his wife, Hurrem(Roxelana). The tomb of Suleiman is revetted with beautiful Iznik tiles and quite impressive. There is also the tomb of great architect, Sinan in the same complex. According to the story, Sinan was the only architect who had the honour of opening an Imperial Mosque because Suleiman gave the key to Sinan which was given to him to open the mosque. Another saying says Sinan trusts the quality of the mosque so much that if there is any big earthquake happens, this mosque will never collapse, it will fall into the waters of Golden Horn as one piece, not in small pieces…