Süleymaniye Camii

( Süleymaniye Mosque )

The Süleymaniye Mosque (Turkish: Süleymaniye Camii, pronounced [sylejˈmaːnije]) is an Ottoman imperial mosque located on the Third Hill of Istanbul, Turkey. The mosque was commissioned by Suleiman the Magnificent (r. 1520–1566) and designed by the imperial architect Mimar Sinan. An inscription specifies the foundation date as 1550 and the inauguration date as 1557, although work on the complex probably continued for a few years after this.

The Süleymaniye Mosque is one of the best-known sights of Istanbul and from its location on the Third Hill it commands an extensive view of the city around the Golden Horn. It is considered a masterpiece of Ottoman architecture and one of Mimar Sinan's greatest works. It is the largest Ottoman-era mosque in the city.

Like other Ottoman imperial foundations, the mosque is part of a larger külliye (religious and charit...Read more

The Süleymaniye Mosque (Turkish: Süleymaniye Camii, pronounced [sylejˈmaːnije]) is an Ottoman imperial mosque located on the Third Hill of Istanbul, Turkey. The mosque was commissioned by Suleiman the Magnificent (r. 1520–1566) and designed by the imperial architect Mimar Sinan. An inscription specifies the foundation date as 1550 and the inauguration date as 1557, although work on the complex probably continued for a few years after this.

The Süleymaniye Mosque is one of the best-known sights of Istanbul and from its location on the Third Hill it commands an extensive view of the city around the Golden Horn. It is considered a masterpiece of Ottoman architecture and one of Mimar Sinan's greatest works. It is the largest Ottoman-era mosque in the city.

Like other Ottoman imperial foundations, the mosque is part of a larger külliye (religious and charitable complex) which included madrasas, a public kitchen, and a hospital, among others. Behind the qibla wall of the mosque is an enclosed cemetery containing the separate octagonal mausoleums of Suleiman the Magnificent and his wife Hurrem Sultan (Roxelana).

Construction

Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent chose the architect Mimar Sinan to create a mosque in memory of his son Şehzade (Crown Prince) Mehmed. Suleiman was so impressed with the ensuing Şehzade Mosque (Şehzade Cami) that he asked Sinan to design a mosque for himself too. This mosque would represent the pre-eminence of the Ottoman Empire.[1]

The mosque was built on the site of the old Ottoman palace (Eski Saray) which was still in use at the time and had to be demolished.[2] The Arabic inscription above the entrance to prayer hall gives a foundation date of 1550 and an inauguration date of 1557. In reality, the planning of the mosque began before 1550 and parts of the complex were not completed until after 1557. The final construction expenses were recorded in 1559, relating to some of the madrasas and to the mausoleum of Suleiman's wife, Hürrem Sultan (d. 1558).[3] The mausoleum for Suleiman himself was built after his death on the orders of his son and successor, Selim II, between 1566 and 1568.[3]

 Interior of the mosque in a 19th-century photograph

Marble spolia from various sites in Constantinople and other parts of the empire were reportedly gathered and shipped to the construction site. Petrus Gyllius, a contemporary observer, wrote about seeing one of the four enormous porphyry columns destined for the mosque's interior being cut down to size and about marble columns being taken from the Hippodrome.[4][5]

In designing the Süleymaniye Mosque, Sinan took inspiration from the Hagia Sophia and the Bayezid II Mosque.[6] Suleiman's intention was to build a mosque that would surpass all others built by his predecessors.[4] Suleiman appears to have represented himself at times as a "second Solomon" and his construction projects in both Jerusalem and Constantinople (Istanbul) appear to reflect this.[7][8] Architecturally, Suleiman's mausoleum (built behind the mosque) references the Dome of the Rock, which was built on the site of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. According to popular tradition, Justinian I boasted upon the completion of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople: "Solomon, I have surpassed thee!" Suleiman's mosque, in turn, references the Hagia Sophia in its layout.[9]

Damages and restorations  View of the mosque on the skyline of historic Istanbul

The Süleymaniye was damaged in the great fire of 1660 and was restored by Sultan Mehmed IV.[10] Part of the dome collapsed during the earthquake of 1766. Subsequent repairs damaged what was left of Sinan's original decoration (recent cleaning has shown that he experimented with blue, before making red the dominant colour of the dome).[11]

During World War I the courtyard was used as a weapons depot, and when some of the ammunition ignited, the mosque suffered another fire. Not until 1956 was it fully restored again. The mosque was restored again between 2007 and 2010.[12] Parts of the surrounding complex continued to be restored in the decade following.

^ Gabr, Aly (2001). "Rediscovery: Mimar Sinan, Suleyman the Magnificent & the Suleymaniye". Medina Magazine. ^ Kuban, Dogan (1987). "Süleymaniye and Sixteenth-century Istanbul". Journal of the Islamic Environmental Design Research Centre 1-2: 4 – via archnet.org. ^ a b Necipoğlu 2005, p. 208. ^ a b Necipoğlu 2005, p. 209. ^ Goodwin 2003, p. 230. ^ Migeon, Gaston (2009). Art of Islam. Parkstone International. pp. lxxii. ^ Neci̇poğlu-Kafadar 1985, pp. 100–104. ^ Neci̇poğlu 2008, p. 61. ^ Neci̇poğlu-Kafadar 1985, pp. 100–101. ^ Baer 2004. ^ Goodwin 2003, p. 235. ^ A.A (9 November 2010). "Süleymaniye Camii restorasyonunda sona doğru". www.hurriyet.com.tr (in Turkish). Retrieved 2022-08-24.
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