A day at Süleymaniye Mosque
The Süleymaniye Mosque is one of the most famous attractions in Istanbul and is the largest mosque in the city. This immense structure was built by the famous imperial architect, Mimar Sinan, to rival the Hagia Sophia. It sits atop one of Istanbul’s seven hills with a garden view over the Golden Horn. Take the time to visit this wonderfully ancient structure and be sure to bring your camera, as the views are amazing.
Design and history
The mosque began construction in 1550 under the order of Sultan Suleiman, The Magnificent, and took eight years to complete. The structure is architecturally stunning, mixing Byzantine and Islamic styles with tall slender minarets or towers and large dome shapes roofs. Unfortunately, this place of worship has suffered a few hardships over the centuries, with an earthquake collapsing its roof and a huge fire raging through. Today, the mosque has been restored to its former grandeur and is an attraction you won’t want to miss when in Istanbul.
What to do at the Mosque
Süleymaniye does not stand alone. It is part of a large complex of buildings, designed to entertain and house guests. Sultan Süleiman ordered the builder to construct hammams, a soup kitchen, an inn, hospital and more buildings in addition to the mosque. For those looking to do some extra relaxing on their trip, Dokmeci Turkish Bath in the complex has also been restored and now offers spa services. Spend a few hours discovering the intricate design of the mosque and then end your trip with a massage and peel in a centuries old building.
Inside the complex, you will also find a lovely garden to explore, a fine dining restaurant in the old soup kitchen and the tombs of the sultan, his wife and the mosque’s architect Sinan. Make sure you also spend time walking around the surrounding area, as buildings in these streets have also been preserved and restored to give you a sense of what it would be like to live in the Ottoman Era.
After discovering the Süleymaniye Mosque and complex, head back to the stylish Radisson Blu Hotel, Istanbul Atakoy.