Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Süleymaniye Mosque

It is the largest mosque in Istanbul, built on the order of Sultan Suleyman and drawing on the architectural genius of Mimar Sinan, Turkey's most famous architect of that time. Combining Islamic and Byzantine elements, it features  4 slender minarets with domes. It is indeed an impressive piece of work known to be Sinan's best. For support of the main dome, Sinan designed buttresses into the walls of the building, with half projecting inside and half outside, then hid the projections by building galleries. Sinan has always been inspired by the Aga Sofia and its apparent supportless dome and what he has done at Suleymaniye mosque was his answer.

The interior design is simply elegant - marble and mother of pearl with highlights of the colour fuchsia and most of all, a very restrained use of Iznik tiles. Though it took us a lot of effort to walk to the Suleyman mosque from the pier - climbing steep slopes, walking on cobbled stone streets and passing many many toy shops, it was worth it. And unlike the Blue Mosque, the Suleyman Mosque is off the tracks frequented by tourists. I was happy to be among the locals. 


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