Suleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul

The Suleiman Mosque (Turkish: Süleymaniye Camii) is a grand 16th-century mosque in Istanbul built by Suleiman the Magnificent.


History of Suleymaniye Mosque

The Suleiman Mosque was built on the order of sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and constructed by the great Ottoman architect Sinan. The construction work began in 1550 and the mosque was finished in 1557.

The mosque is modeled in part on the style of a Byzantine basilica, particularly the Hagia Sophia, which was perhaps a conscious move on the part of the sultan to create a continuity and a symbolic connection with the city's past.

The Suleiman Mosque was ravaged by a fire in 1660 and was restored on the command of sultan Mehmed IV by architect Fossatı. The restoration, however, changed the mosque into a more baroque style, damaging the great work severely.

The mosque was restored to its original glory during the 19th century but 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 restored again. Today, the Suleiman Mosque is one of the most popular sights in Istanbul.

What to See at Suleymaniye Mosque

The mosque is 59 meters in length and 58 meters in width. The main dome is 53 meters high and has a diameter of 27.25 meters.

Apart from the main mosque with the prayer hall (cami) and courtyard (avlu), the mosque complex also includes a caravanserai or seraglio (sarayı; han), a public kitchen (imaret) which served food to the poor, a hospital (darüşşifa), a Qur'an school (medrese) and a bath-house (hamam).

In the garden behind the main mosque there are two mausoleums (türbe) including the tombs of sultan Suleiman I, his wife Roxelana (Haseki Hürrem), his daughter Mihrimah, his mother Dilaşub Saliha and his sister Asiye. Suleiman's tomb features a system of layered domes copied from the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.

The sultans Suleiman II, Ahmed II and Safiye (died in 1777), the daughter of Mustafa II, are also buried here. Just outside the mosque walls to the north is the humble tomb of Sinan, designed by the occupant himself.

Quick Facts on Suleymaniye Mosque

Site Information
Names:Süleymaniye Camii · Suleymaniye Mosque
Styles:Ottoman Empire
Status: active
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:41.016085° N, 28.963909° E
Address:Süleymaniye Cad.
Istanbul, Turkey
Hours:Daily 9:30am-4:30pm except prayer times
Lodging:View hotels near Suleymaniye Mosque
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.


More Information

The breathtaking interior of Suleiman Mosque. © Pierre Metivier
Exterior view of Suleimaniye Mosque. © khoogheem
General view of the interior, filled with light. © Pierre Metivier

Map of Suleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul

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