The Suleymaniye Mosque

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The Suleymaniye Mosque

Suleymaniye Mosque is one of the largest mosques in Istanbul and is considered the most important. It was built by order of Suleiman the Magnificent by the great architect Sinan, and both of them are buried in the complex. Construction work began in 1550 CE and was completed in 1558 CE.

History

The complex stands on the territory of the first palace, built in the city by the conquering Ottomans. When in 1465 CE. The imperial entourage moved to Topkapi Palace, the territory of the old was given for the construction of a new complex. Work on the Suleymaniye Mosque began in 1550 CE and was completed in 1558 CE. During this time, Sinan and his family lived on the spot.

Like other imperial mosques of the city, the Suleymaniye Mosque was not only a place of worship, but also a charitable foundation, or kuliem. The mosque is surrounded by a former hospital, canteen, schools, a caravanserai (a resting place for travelers) and a bath. This complex provided a social security system that fed more than 1,000 poor people in the city every day — Muslims, Christians, and Jews. The size of the millstone in his courtyard gives an idea of ​​the amount of grain that was needed to feed everyone.

exterior

As in all the imperial mosques in Istanbul, the entrance to the mosque contains a platform with a central fountain. The outer facade of the mosque is decorated with blue rectangular tiles.

To the south of the mosque is a house for women, which houses a library containing 110,000 manuscripts. The main entrance from the courtyard contained the rooms of an astronomer’s mosque, which determined the prayer time.

The Suleymaniye Mosque
The Suleymaniye Mosque

Like other imperial mosques of the city, the Suleymaniye Mosque was not only a place of worship, but also a charitable foundation, or kuliye. The mosque is surrounded by a former hospital, canteen, schools, a caravanserai (a resting place for travelers) and a bath. This complex provided a social security system that fed more than 1,000 poor people in the city every day — Muslims, Christians, and Jews. The size of the millstone in his courtyard gives an idea of ​​the amount of grain that was needed to feed everyone.

The minaret stands on each of the four corners of the courtyard, two high and two short. Traditionally, four minarets were used for mosques that were endowed with sultan. Princes and princesses could build two minarets; the others are just one. In total there are ten galleries on the minarets (small balconies), which traditionally indicates that Suleiman I was the 10th Ottoman Sultan. The main dome height of 53 meters.

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Suleymaniye Mosque was destroyed by fire in 1660 and was restored by Sultan Mehmed IV. Part of the dome collapsed again during the 1766 earthquake. Subsequent repairs damaged what was left of the original Sinan furnishings. A recent clearance showed that Sinan first experimented with blue, before turning red in the dominant color of the dome.

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During World War I, the courtyard was used as an armory, and when part of the ammunition caught fire, the mosque suffered another fire. Only in 1956 it was completely restored.

interior

The interior of the mosque is a vast, almost square space 59 meters long and 58 meters wide.

On the wall of the qiblah are stained-glass windows of blue color, iznik tiles. On both sides of the mihrab are large calligraphic inscriptions with the text of Sura al-Fatiha, the initial chapter of the Koran.

The interior always seems cool, partly because a clever airflow system was included in the original design to direct soot from candles and olive lamps to one point. Then it was collected and used for ink.

Interior of the Suleymaniye mosque
Interior of the Suleymaniye mosque

mausoleums

In the garden behind the main mosque there are two mausoleums, including the tombs of Sultan Suleiman I, his wife Roxelan, his daughter Mihrim, his mother Dilashub Salih and his sister Asiya. Sultans Sulaiman II and Ahmed II are also buried here.

It is said that inside the main mausoleum is part of Hajar al-Aswad. This is part of the Black Stone, attached to the Kaaba in Mecca, the most holy place in Islam.

Tomb of Sinan

Immediately outside the walls of the mosque in the north is the tomb of Sinan, considered the greatest architect of the classical period of Ottoman architecture. Sinan died at the age of 98, having built 131 mosques and 200 other buildings. He was born a Christian and later converted to Islam.


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