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Blending culture and art with its own unique style, Istanbul transforms its historical texture into a painting thanks to each with its own beautiful mosques and famous Istanbul silhouette created by these mosques. We compiled the leading Istanbul mosques with their rising to the sky minarets and their peaceful architecture.
The Blue Mosque
Giving its name to possibly the most toursitic area of Istanbul, The Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque) is considered as the most outstanding buildings made in the 17th century. It’s known that Sultan Ahmed has taken part in the beginning of the construction, which started in 1609. The architecture of the mosque is Sedefkar Mehmet Aga. Without a doubt, the spectacular dome is the top reason why people adore the Blue Mosque so much. But what makes it different is its six minarets because the only mosque with six minaret was in Kaaba. While this aroused frustration among people for Sultan Ahmed since he got the Blue Mosque constructed. To ease the tension, Sultan Ahmed decided to add another minaret to the mosque in Kaaba.
The world calls Sultan Ahmed Mosque as the Blue Mosque just because it is covered with more than 20 thousand tiles from İznik, a city famous for tile making. Together with the light touching the walls of the mosque during the day, tiles with lily, rose, tulip and clove patterns present a visual feast. The interior design of the mosque also includes marbles that were probably brought from foreign countries, embossed and gilded inlaid decorations, wood material with mother of pearl and ivory inlaid. The Architect Sedefkar Mehmet Ağa make a harmonious combination with Ottoman mosque architecture and Byzantine church architecture while designing the Blue Mosque. The mosque is referred to as the last of classical architectural work, and represents the architecture’s idea of “greatness in size, majesty and grandness”. Unfortunately, hospital, caravanserai and kitchen of the Blue Mosque, an important part of the famous Istanbul silhouette, hasn’t survived to this day.
The Süleymaniye Mosque
The Süleymaniye Mosque, located in Fatih in the heart of historical Istanbul, is a part of the Istanbul panaroma just like the Sultanahmet Mosque. The mosque is the journeyman period of Sinan, the world-famous architect of the Ottoman Empire. Considered an architectural wonder, the mosque is at the top of the Ottoman aesthetic style. The tomb of Suleiman the Magnificent and his legendary wife, Hürrem Sultan are also here. In the complex of the mosque, there is a madrasah, a treasury section, a library, a bath, a imaret and various shops.
The mosque, which includes Iznik tiles and wooden ornaments with mother-of-pearl inlay, also amazes its visitors with the acoustic technique specially applied by Mimar Sinan. Another reflection of the genius Mimar Sinan in the mosque is the gathering of the soot coming out of the oil lamps through the air flow created inside. Combining his genius with a sense of spaciousness and elegant aesthetics, the mosque is one of the best examples of modesty in architecture.
Eyüp Sultan Mosque
Right after the conquest of Istanbul, Eyüp Sultan Mosque was the first one built (it was in 1458) by the request of Mehmed the Conqueror. The mosque takes its name from Hz. Ebu Eyyub El-Ensari, who is known as the companion of Muhammad. Inside the complex, there are mosques, tombs, baths, madrasahs and imaret. Eyüp Sultan Mosque should not only be considered as a religious structure, it is also considered as a valuable social area. A beautiful mosque where dozens of pigeons are fed in its courtyard, people crowd on religious holidays and have a good time...
New Mosque in Eminönü
What was engraved in our minds most of the time about Istanbul is the Spice Bazaar, as well as the Galata Bridge, which lies with all its glory around the bazaar. It won’t be wrong to say the New Mosque in Eminönü is the missing part of this view. The New Mosque is the last mosque built with the direct order of the Ottoman Sultans. It took quite a long time to build: 68 years! Well maybe the reason is that the mosque was built on the sea shore. The foundation of the mosque was laid by penetrating large piles into the sea, the mosque was completed in 1665. Two eye-catching minarets, 66 domes and a courtyard with a fountain in the middle indicate that it was built iwith the classical Ottoman style. The mosque, which draws attention with its colorful stained glasses, white marble decorations and tiles on its walls. Surprisingly it also contains the Spice Bazaar, one of the most visited shopping places in Istanbul.
Mihrimah Sultan Mosque
Two Mihrimah Sultan Mosques located in Üsküdar and Edirnekapı, two old districts of Istanbul, were built by Suleiman the Magnificent for her daughter Mihrimah sultan. Mimar Sinan (Sinan the Grand Architect of Ottoman period) uses half domes in the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque, and these domes become Sinan’s signature detail over time. There is also a rumor about the mosques. According to the story, Mimar Sinan is in love with Mihrimah Sultan and adds a romantic mystery to the mosques’ design. Mihrimah means sun and moon, and when you look at it from a high point in the historical peninsula in the morning, you can watch the sunrise between the two minarets of the mosque and the moon rise in the evening. If you stand in a place where you can see both mosques in the spring time, as the sun rises through the minarets of the mosque in Üsküdar in the morning, the moon goes down just above the dome of the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque in Edirnekapı. In the evening, the opposite happens.
Fatih Mosque
Built nearly 10 years after the conquest of Istanbul, Fatih Mosque represents the transformation of Istanbul into a delicate Ottoman city. The mosque took its name from the great Ottoman emperor Mehmed the Conqueror. Although the building wad damaged by earthquakes over the years, it continued to maintain its magnificence thanks to many repair works. The central dome of the mosque, of which yard “avlu” is decorated with 22 domes, stands on 4 pillars. The Fatih mosque is worth visiting since it rises in one of the highest points of the city and reflects examples of classical Ottoman architecture.

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