The most beautiful mosque in Istanbul – Suleymaniye – a masterpiece of the architect Sinan. During the construction, the talented author paid special attention to the elegance of its silhouette, so it is best to admire the mosque from below, from the bay, and not close. The mosque took a long time to build (1550-1557) and cost the treasury of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent a tidy sum.
It is not surprising: the religious building can accommodate up to 5 thousand believers, and in addition to the mosque itself, it includes a whole complex of baths, madrasahs (Islamic educational institutions), kitchens, a library and an observatory, and, of course, four slender and tall minarets.
The sultan himself, his wife Roksolana, their daughter Mikhriman and two other Ottoman sultans – Sultan Ahmet II and Sultan Suleiman II are buried in the courtyard of the mosque.
One of the most romantic stories is associated with the mosque, which could well become the basis for some oriental fairy tale. However, I don’t know about fairy tales, but novelists from different countries, artists and poets used the love of the great sultan and the former harem slave to the fullest. Incidentally, there are portraits of Suleiman and his beloved wife by Titian himself. Remember, and we once had the series “Roksolana – the slave of the Sultan”? It just tells, well, with great elements of fiction, of course, the story of the girl Nastya Lisovskaya, who became the beloved wife of Suleiman the Magnificent. True, evil tongues say that all this is not true, and let Slavic women not be proud: Roksolana, allegedly, was a natural Turkish woman. But of course we We do not believe in all this – would a Turkish woman appear in public with an open face, and rule the state instead of her husband when he was on distant campaigns? So we will assume that Anastasia Gavrilovna Lisovskaya, who came from the places where the Ivano-Frankivsk region of Ukraine is now located, and Sultana Khurrem are one and the same person.
Almost every element of this amazing old complex is symbolic. For example, four minarets are considered a symbol of the rule of Suleiman, who was the fourth sultan of Istanbul.
As you know, there are three main styles in Islamic religious architecture: Persian (Taj Mahal), Arabic (Dome of the Rock) and Turkish, the brightest examples of which are the Suleymaniye Mosque and the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. It is surprisingly laconic, does not depress with its size due to the perfection of forms.
Almost every element of this amazing old complex is symbolic. For example, four minarets are considered a symbol of the rule of Suleiman, who was the fourth sultan of Istanbul. 10 balconies on them indicate that he was the tenth in the dynasty. Inside, you should pay attention to the rare in beauty stained glass windows of the talented master Ibrahim, nicknamed “Sarkhosh” (“intoxicated”).
The construction of Sinanu was a success: all the mosques, created by the hands of this brilliant architect, are distinguished by their firmness and steadfastness in time. The same can be said about the Suleiman the Magnificent mosque: its fate was not easy – it survived 89 strong earthquakes, while retaining its strict, refined appearance for posterity.
Address: Süleymaniye Mh. The mosque is located in the old part of Istanbul, in the Vefa district.
How to get there: take a high-speed tram to the Eminonu stop, from where the mosque is no more than 5 minutes walk (landmark – New Mosque, Egyptian Bazaar and further into the streets to the right), it is difficult to get lost, since high minarets serve as an excellent landmark. It is also easily accessible on foot from Beyazit Square, Eminonu Square or the University.
It must be remembered that the mosque is active, services are being held here, but at the same time it is open to tourists. Women will most likely be asked to put on a headdress, they are rather indulgent to trousers, after all, Turkey, although the state is predominantly Muslim, is secular, but open shoulders are absolutely inappropriate, make sure that your headscarf covers them, otherwise inside you just won’t get in.
Opening hours: 9: 00-17: 30, it is better to plan your visit for any day except Friday. For tourists, the mosque closes during namaz, so the best hours for viewing are from 9:00 to 12:30, from 13:45 to 15:45.
The entrance is free.