5 Impressive Mosques in Istanbul
The largest city in Turkey and one of the most fascinating cities in the world, Istanbul is a unique tourist destination located in the very place where East meats West. Featuring a plethora of attractions, from historical monuments, to the famous Grand Bazaar, Istanbul has a little bit of everything.
For those interested in religious architecture, the massive metropolis of 13 million people offers around 3,000 mosques worth exploring, a handful of which stand out as masterpieces of Ottoman architecture. As affordable hotels in Istanbul abound, all you have to do is plan your next vacation and discover them firsthand.
Sultan Ahmet Mosque
More famously known as â€œThe Blue Mosqueâ€, because of the dominating color of the paint and tiles used to decorate its interior, Sultan Ahmet Mosque is considered one of the masterpieces of the Islamic World. Commissioned by Sultan Ahmet I when he was only 19, the Blue Mosque was built between 1609 and 1616.
Built across from the awesome Hagia Sofia, Sultan Ahmet Mosque is a venerable triumph of architecture and design. From minarets to domes, spectacular ceramic tile-work to marble mihrab, the mosque is magnificent.
This particular architectural wonder was designed by Mimar Sinan, the greatest architect in Turkish history, and is considered one the most impressive mosques in the world. Built in the 16th century, during the rule of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, who wanted a monument worthy of his name, the Suleymaniye Mosque was inspired by the design of Hagia Sophia, built a thousand years earlier.
On a hilltop that overlooks the Bosphorus Golden Horn inlet, Suleymaiye Mosque was originally the lynchpin in a vast complex that included a great garden, four madrasahs, royal mausoleums, hamam baths and a hospital. Today it serves as one of the pre-eminent points of interest in Istanbul.
Istanbul’s Yeni Cami, or New Mosque, is already 400 years old but relatively new in comparison to others in the city. On the south side of EminÃ¶nÃ¼ Square, next to the Galata Bridge, Yeni Cami is one of the finest examples of Ottoman architecture in Istanbul.
The New Mosque was commissioned by Safiye Sultan, mother of Sultan Mehmet III. Daâ€™ud Aga, a disciple of Mimar Sinan, designed the building. After several decades, Yeni Cami was finally completed thanks to the generosity of by another queen mother – Sultan Turhan Hattice. The interior of the mosque is just as impressive as the outside, featuring gold, marble and Iznik tile decorations.
One of the largest mosques in Istanbul, Fatih Mosque was built at the behest of Sultan Fatih Mehmet (Mehmet the Conqueror), on the highest hill in Istanbul. After conquering Constantinople in 1453, the Sultan set out to build an Islamic sanctuary that would surpass even the great Hagia Sophia.
Constructed between 1463 and 1470, Fatih Mosque suffered significant earthquake damage. The current structure is actually a reconstruction from 1771. It acts as the eternal resting place of Sultan Fatif Mehmet and is the second holiest mosque in Istanbul, after EÃ¿up Mosque.
Named after EÃ¿up El Ensari, the standard bearer of the Prophet Muhammad, EÃ¿up Mosque was constructed outside the city walls, in the very place where EÃ¿up died. Built by Mehmet the Conqueror, EÃ¿up Mosque is the most sacred mosque in Istanbul and a holy Islamic pilgrimage site.
While it may not share the same dramatic design and size as the other mosques on our list, EÃ¿up Mosque impresses because of its ties to Muhammad, history and religious importance.