On the top of a hill overlooking Golden Horn is a work of Sinan, Ottoman architect of 16th century. The mosque is a fine example of Ottoman architecture of the era, and inspired the architects of Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet) which was built later.
Comparing these two mosques, Süleymaniye is noted for its gloomier and more atmospheric feeling. Next to the courtyard of the mosque are tombs of Sinan himself, Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, and his Ukrainian spouse, Roxalane (known as Hürrem Sultan in Turkish).
While being inside the mosque during prayer times for non-Muslims is inappropriate, spending an hour or so witnessing the pre-prayer ritual respectfully from a distance is simply unforgettable. The faithful enter the courtyard one by one and silently perform their ritualistic ablutions along the flanks of the mosque. They then make their way into the forecourt, remove their shoes and slip behind the thick padded covering over the main door. Attending Friday prayers delivers greater spiritual reward and Suleymaniye’s is one of the most important prayer sessions in the city.
Free admission (both the mosque building itself and tombs in the courtyard).
» Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya)
» Topkapi Palace (Topkapı Sarayı)
» Sultanahmet Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii, The Blue Mosque)
» Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarnici)
» Gran Bazaar (Kapalı Çarşı)
» Egyptian Bazaar (Mısır Çarşısı, also known as Spice Bazaar)
» Süleymaniye Mosque (Süleymaniye Camii)
» Chora Church (Kariye Müzesi)