Süleymaniye Mosque

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 and designed by the imperial architect Mimar Sinan. An inscription specifies the foundation date as 1550 and the inauguration date as 1557. Behind the qibla wall of the mosque is an enclosure containing the separate octagonal mausoleums of Suleiman the Magnificent and his wife Hurrem Sultan (Roxelana). For 462 years, the Süleymaniye Mosque was the largest mosque in the city, until it was surpassed by the Çamlıca Mosque in 2019. 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.

 
Elevation and plan published by Cornelius Gurlitt in 1912

Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent chose the architect Mimar Sinan to create a mosque in memory of his son Şehzade (Crown Prince) Mehmed. Suleyman 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]  In designing the Süleymaniye Mosque, Sinan took inspiration from the Hagia Sophia and the Bayezid II Mosque. [2] The mosque was built on the site of the old palace (Eski Saray) of Topkapi which was still in use at the time and had to be demolished. [3]

The Arabic inscription above the north portal of the mosque is carved in Thuluth script on three marble panels. It 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.[4]

The design of the Süleymaniye played on Süleyman's self-conscious representation of himself as a 'second Solomon.' It referenced the Dome of the Rock, which was built on the site of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, as well as Justinian's boast upon the completion of the Hagia Sophia: "Solomon, I have surpassed thee!"[5] The Süleymaniye asserted Süleyman's historical importance although it was smaller in size than Hagia Sophia.

The Süleymaniye was damaged in the great fire of 1660 and was restored by Sultan Mehmed IV.[6] 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).[7]

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.[8] 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. ^ Migeon, Gaston (2009). Art of Islam. Parkstone International. pp. lxxii. ^ Kuban, Dogan (1987). "Süleymaniye and Sixteenth-century Istanbul". Journal of the Islamic Environmental Design Research Centre 1-2: 4 – via archnet.org. ^ Necipoğlu 2005, p. 208. ^ Neci̇poğlu-Kafadar 1985, p. 103. ^ Baer 2004. ^ Goodwin 2003, p. 235. ^ A.A. "Süleymaniye Camii restorasyonunda sona doğru". www.hurriyet.com.tr (in Turkish). Retrieved 2022-08-24.
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