Mosques in Istanbul
Ortaköy mosque: The mosque is located on the shores of the Bosphorus in Ortaköy district. It was built in 1853 by the royal architect Nikogos Balyan, during the reign of Sultan Abdulmecid, and named as Büyük Mecidiye mosque. The mosque is designed in Baroque style and has a fine location. It is composed of intimate rooms and a private area for the sultans. The wide and tall windows were designed to let in light from all around the Bosphorus. It has two minarets each with a single gallery that are be reached by a flight of stairs.
Sultanahmet (The Blue Mosque): This 17th century mosque, facing the Haghia Sophia, is famous for its beautiful blue tile work ornamenting its interior walls. Its surrounding six slim minarets distinguish it from other mosques which normally have two or four minarets. The mosque was built in seven years between 1609-1616 by the architect Mehmet Aga with the order of Sultan Ahmed I and became the most important mosque of the city, right in the Sultanahmet square.
Suleymaniye (the Magnificent): This outstanding piece of architecture was built in the 16th century by the famous Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan for Sultan Süleyman the Magnificient. Standing on a hilltop of the ancient city over the Golden Horn, it contributes gracefully to the city's skyline. The tombs of the Sultan, his wife Hürrem and Mimar Sinan are found within its compounds. It is the largest mosque of Istanbul with four minarets.
Yeni Cami (New Mosque); Beautiful 17th century mosque situated in Eminönü district near the Egyptian Spice Bazaar next to the Golden Horn. The doves flocking its compounds in large numbers provide a sight worth seeing. The interior of the mosque have great examples of Ottoman tile work.
Beyazıt complex: The complex, which is scattered throughout Beyazit Square, was built by Sultan Bayezid II and completed in the years 1500-1505. It was originally thought to have been designed by Mimar Sinan Hayreddin or Mimar Kemaleddin but later research suggests the architect may been Yakubsah Bin Sultan.
The complex is composed of a mosque, a kitchen, a primary school, a hospital, a medrese, a hamam, a soup kitchen for the poor and a caravanserai. It differs from the Fatih complex before it in that it was not built symmetrically but in a seemingly random style.
Beyazit Mosque is at the center of the complex. Its main dome is 16.78 meters in diameter and is supported by four pillars. An oddity is that one of the minarets is 79 meters from the other and is contiguous with the hospital. The stone and wood craftsmanship and stained glass are artistic masterpieces. The courtyard paving materials and pillars used for the reservoir for ablutions were reclaimed from Byzantine ruins and re-used. These pillars in particular demonstrate the quality of Byzantine workmanship. The soup kitchen and Caravanserai are to the left of the mosque and are used today by the Beyazit State Library. The medresse far to the right of the mosque is used as a museum by the Turkish Foundation of Calligraphy. The hamam is some distance from the medresse on Ordu Street next to the Department of Literature. Tombs are found on the Kiblah [Mecca] side of the mosque. Sultan Bayezid II, his daughter Selçuk Hatun and the architect of Tanzimat Fermani, Mustafa Resit Pasa, are buried here.
Dolmabahce mosque: The Dolmabahçe Mosque is located on the Bosphorus in the southern part of Dolmabahce Palace. Construction of the mosque began at the behest of Sultan Abdülmecid's mother, Bezmialem Valide Sultan, but when she died, Sultan Abdülmecid took over. It was completed in 1855, and the architect was Karabet Balyan. It is one of the highly decorated Baroque-style mosques. Being part of the palace complex, the mosque contains a front section in which the sovereign and state officials could worship and a two-storey section for the sovereign suitable for the public procession of the Sultan to the mosque on Fridays. The circular arrangement of the windows, which resembles a peacock's tail, is an unusual sight relatively unknown among the architects of mosques.
Eyüp: The first mosque built after the conquest of Istanbul, the great Mosque of Eyüp lies outside the city walls in Eyüp district, near the Golden Horn, at the supposed place where Eyüp (Eyyub el Ensari), the standard bearer of the Prophet Muhammed, died in the Islamic assault on Constantinople (Istanbul) in 670. Today it's considered as the second place of pilgrimage for Muslims after Mecca.
Fatih (the Conqueror): Built over the ruins of the Church of Apostles, Fatih Mosque was constructed between 1463 and 1470 and bears the name of the Ottoman conquerer of Istanbul, Fatih Sultan Mehmet. The mosque is the site of his mausoleum. Its vast size and its great complex of religious buildings, including medreses (theological school), hospices, baths, a hospital and a library.
Zeyrek mosque: During the 12th century, the Byzantine Empress Irene and Emperor John II Kommenos commissioned the Pantocrator, a three-church monastic complex, to serve as the dynastic mausoleum for themselves and later Byzantine emperors. In the 14th and 15th centuries, Palaeiologan emperors were also buried in the multi-domed structure in the heart of what is now the old city of Istanbul.
Zeyrek Mosque is selected as 100 most endangered sites of the world by World Monuments Fund.
Other interesting mosques in the city are: Nuruosmaniye, Mihrimah, Arap, Atik Ali Pasa, Beylerbeyi, Hirka-i Serif, Kalenderhane, Kilic Ali Pasa, Laleli, Mahmud Pasa, Mihrim Sultan, Nusretiye, Rüstem Pasa, Sokullu Pasa, Sultan Selim, Sehzade, Valide.
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