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The 8 Best Mosques in Istanbul

Mosques in Istanbul
Mosques and Ottoman architecture make Istanbul famous. Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire since 1453 and the biggest city in Turkey, has over 3000 mosques. Because of this, deciding which mosques to visit is tough, but here are seven you shouldn’t miss. Istanbul also combines yesteryear decadence with dazzling urban innovation. This half-Asian, half-European city, has stunning Byzantine relics, enchanting markets, and a diverse array of architecture. Here are some of the most beautiful mosques in Turkey.

Mosques in Istanbul
Sultanahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque)

  • A 20,000-tile Iznik mosaic adorns the walls of this ancient mosque, finished in 1616. They’re blue. Unlike its Turkish cousins, Sultanahmet Mosque has six slender towers instead of two or four.
  • According to legend, this unusual number of minarets is due to a misunderstanding.
  • As Mecca was the only temple with six, this caused much controversy. Islam’s capital, Istanbul, even got an extra tower from Sultan Ahmet I.
  • Looking out to the Sea of Marmara, this gigantic temple is still around. It’s closed to the public during the five daily prayer times, so keep that in mind.

Sultanahmet Park has the best views of one of Istanbul’s most beautiful mosques.

Suleymaniye Mosque

  • The 53-metre dome of this mosque pierces the skies on the Golden Horn. This dazzling structure dominates the city skyline just a few steps from Istanbul University’s gates.

It was one of the most important mosques in the Ottoman empire, built by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.

  • Designed by Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan in the 16th century, Suleymaniye Mosque served more than just worship.
  • The grounds included a hospital, a library, a madrasa (Islamic college), a kitchen, and a hospice for the poor.
  • You can get a real taste of imperial life by strolling around the grand courtyards and regal gardens. Look for the ivory-inlaid panels and intricate tiling surrounding Suleyman’s tomb.

Ortaköy Mosque

  • The design of this more modern structure is relatively modest compared to its grand counterparts throughout the city.
  • However, the beauty of this building is derived from the age-old mantra: location, location, location.
  • Ortaköy Mosque is set right on the edge of the Bosphorus with the Bosphorus Bridge as a backdrop.
  • Garabet Amira Balyan and Nigoğayos Balyan 1856 created this impressive design.
  • Also designed by father-and-son Armenians, Dolmabahçe Palace.

Hagia Sophia Mosque

  • The Greek patriarchal cathedral of Constantinople is among the oldest examples on this list. The Moors converted the building into a mosque in 537 AD.
  • Today, Hagia Sophia is considered one of the world’s greatest places of worship.
  • Thousands of visitors flock to this museum every year to view the pinnacle of Byzantine culture dating back to the 6th century.
  • Explore the vast interior, illuminated by 40 arched windows, and experience what was once the world’s largest dome.
  • Nine hundred years later, the Florence Cathedral assumed this title. It is truly unmissable when visiting Istanbul to see this feat of Byzantine engineering.

Çamlıca Republic Mosque

  • One of the largest mosques in Istanbul, Çamlıca, was inaugurated on 1 July 2016. A large number of people can be accommodated in the mosque.
  • To be precise, 63000. It is one of the megaprojects built by the Turkish government to demonstrate its economic strength.
  • The mosque premises include a museum, an art gallery, a library, and a conference room.
  • This new Istanbul mosque was designed by two female architects, Sahar Mazrak and Hayriye Gül Totu. A dawn prayer was conducted just a month ago to officially open the doors of this mosque to the public. A platform is also provided in the mosque for the disabled. This platform will serve as a place for visitors to offer prayers.

The newly constructed mosque in Istanbul can be viewed from every corner of the city. On its own, it is magnificent and grand.

Rüstem Paşa Mosque

  • A secret gem of Ottoman architecture, this Istanbul Mosque was designed by the renowned architect Mimar Sinan.
  • The building was constructed around 1563 in the Strawmat Weavers Market.
  • The renowned architect of the grand vizier Rüstem Pasha designed this Ottoman architecture. He was married to one of Suleiman’s daughters.
  • It was built between 1561 and 1563 after Rüstem Pasha died at 61. A religious school is currently housed on the mosque’s grounds. Their rents were supposed to support the mosque complex. They were built on a high terrace over a complex of protected shops.

New Mosque Istanbul

  • Despite its name, the New Mosque was not constructed in the name of Valide Sultan. Even though its name suggests otherwise, this Istanbul mosque is over 350 years old. The Turkish translation would be Yeni Camii (New Mosque).

It’s one of Istanbul’s most famous architectural landmarks, located on the southern end of the Galata Bridge.

  • In addition to being a landmark for the Golden Horn, this Istanbul Mosque also serves as a landmark for the city.
  • Rustem Pasha has some amazing examples of Ottoman tile work, known as Zanik tiles (blue tiles that bear the name of the town where they were made).
  • As with the other mosques, the New Mosque Istanbul was designed as a complex with adjacent structures to serve religious and cultural purposes.
  • The Spice Bazaar is located within the mosque and has a large L-shaped market.

Eyüp Mosque

  • Located outside Istanbul’s city walls in the Eyüp district, the Great Mosque of Eyüp was the first mosque built after Istanbul’s conquest.
  • It’s near the Golden Horn, where Eyüp, the standard-bearer of the Prophet Muhammad, died in the Islamic assault on Constantinople in 670. It is supposed to be entombed by Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, who hosted the Prophet Muhammad when he moved from Mecca to Medina.

Even though this mosque is considered a pilgrimage place for Muslims today, it’s not a pilgrimage place in Islam. 

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