As the largest city in a country where the main religion is Islam, Istanbul has 3000 mosques. The architecture varies from the Ottoman Empire to Byzantine, and it’s really hard to pick which one to visit – no matter your religion – because they are all astonishing. As I said in my first post about Istanbul, this is a fabulous place to visit. And today I will show some Mosques that I saw and loved…
Suleymaniye (The Magnificent) – This is the second largest mosque in Istanbul. It was built in the 16th century by Mimar Sinan a famous Ottoman architect for the Sultan Suleyman the Magnificient. The tombs of the Sultan, his wife Hurren, and architect are in there.
Blue Mosque (or Sultanahmet) – It was built during the 17th century and it faces Hagia Sophia. Different from other mosques, it has 6 minarets (towers are typical of mosques, with a balcony where a muezzin calls muslin to pray), and it is the most popular tourist attraction in Istanbul.
Gardens Between Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia – This is a very impressive former cathedral, turned mosque, turned museum. The architecture is Byzantine, and it was constructed in 537. Until 1453, it was a Greek Orthodox cathedral, except for 58 that the Catholic Church took over, between 1204 to 1261 it was a Roman Catholic Cathedral. In 1453, they converted the building into a mosque and in 1931, it was closed… to be reopened in 1935 as the actual museum.
New Mosque (or Yeni Cami )- It started to be constructed in 1597 requested by the wife of the Sultan Murad III, but due to political and other problems it was finished in 1663. The interior is absolutely captivating. If you have the chance to visit, don’t miss it.
Rustem Pasha – Built between 1561 and 1563, it has the most beautiful Iznik tiles that I have seen. In my opinion, this should be the so called “Blue Mosque”. It was commissioned by a Grand Vizier of Suleyman’s court. This mosque is for sure my favorite!
Photos: Dri Ferreira and CanStock.com