Süleymaniye

SÜLEYMANSYE The district of Süleymaniye, which is part of Eminönü, got its name from the Süleymaniye Mosque and Külliye built by Mimar Sinan upon the order of Kanuni Sultan Süleyman. The madrasahs of the külliye of Süleymaniye were probably the most important and elite districts of the city due to the respectability the ulema (Muslim theologians and scholars) until the first quarter of the 17th century. In addition, they were the institutions which offered the highest level of education in İstanbul. The district used to be one of the important trade and science centers of İstanbul during the Ottoman Era. Now it is an important centre for culture and tourism.

SÜLEYMANİYE MOSQUE This is the mosque built by Mimar Sinan between 1550 and 1557 in the name of Kanuni Sultan Süleyman. Süleymaniye Mosque, which is considered to be Mimar Sinan's apprentice work, was built as a part of the Süleymaniye Külliye which includes a library, madrasah, hospital, bathhouse, soup kitchen and an old burial ground. The Süleymaniye Mosque is one of the most important examples of Ottoman architecture. Although it has survived over a hundred earthquakes since it was built, there is not even a single crack in its walls. The dome of the mosque, which is situated on four elephant feet, is 53 meters high and it has a diameter of 26.5 meters. This main dome is supported with two semi-domes, like Hagia Sophia. There are 32 windows on the dome wheel and there is one minaret each on the four sides of the courtyard of the mosque. The two minarets adjacent to the mosque have three minaret symbols and they are 76 meters high. The other two meeting place of the crowd have two minaret symbols which are 56 meters high. The new mosque was built with air circulation that cleaned up the lampblack caused by the oil lamps. The lampblack coming from the mosque was collected in the room above the main entrance gate and used for making ink. In the middle of the courtyard, surrounded by 28 arcades, there is a rectangular fountain.

TOMBS OF KANUNI Tombs of Kanuni and his wife Hürrem Sultan In the direction of Mecca in the mosque, there is a burial ground where the tombs of Kanuni Sultan Süleyman, his wife Hürrem Sultan, and Mimar Sinan are located. The ceiling of the tomb of Kanuni Sultan Süleyman was decorated with metallic plates embedded with diamonds to create the impression of the sky full of stars. The entrance to the Süleymaniye Mosque has a plain structure in terms of decoration. The windows on the altar wall are decorated with stained glass. The Sura (sections of the Quran) of Conquest and the Sura of Divine Light are written on tile medallions by the windows located on both sides of the altar. The calligrapher was Hasan Çelebi.

SULEYMANIYE TURKISH BATHHOUSE This hammam was built in 1557 at the same time as the Süleymaniye Mosque and Külliye. There used to be a “jaundice bowl” in the bathhouse which was lost after being used for centuries. People believed that patients with jaundice regained their health after washing themselves with the water in this bowl. The eight marble pillars surrounding the marble washing platform are spectacular.

KALENDERHANE MOSQUE This was a Catholic Italian church of the 12th century. It was designated to the order of Kalenderi after the conquest. It was turned into a mosque in the 18th century by Babüssaade Ağası Maktul Beşir Ağa. It went through a big fire in the 19th century and it was repaired in 1854. It was restored in 1968 and opened to religious services again.

Ali’s Harricot Bean A point of taste in the historical area (Catering Section P. 244)

Vefa Bozacısı A traditional Turkish beverage (Catering Section P. 251)

İMÇ (İstanbul Manifaturacılar Çarşısı) (Bazaars Section P. 216)

MİMAR SİNAN (1490-1588) Mimar Sinan was born in the village of Ağırnas in Kayseri. He was brought to İstanbul as a devşirme (the recruitment of non-Muslim boys by the Janissaries) during the reign of Yavuz Sultan Selim. He worked in the construction of inns, palaces, fountains and tombs under the supervision of the masters of the era. After he built a bridge over the river of Pruth within thirteen days during the military expedition to Moldavia, he earned the appreciation of Kanuni Sultan Süleyman and he was promoted to the status of Master Architect. He looked at architectural structures in Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, the Balkans, and Vienna as well as all of Southern Europe. His most outstanding works are the Şehzadebaşı Mosque and Külliye, the Süleymaniye Mosque and the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne. The number of his known works is 364 which include 84 mosques, 53 small mosques, 57 madrasahs, 7 darülkurra's (a madrasah where reading the Quran was taught), 22 tombs, 17 soup kitchens, 3 darüşiffa's (a structure which can be described as a hospital), 5 waterway arches, 8 bridges, 20 caravansaries, 35 palaces, 8 cellars, and 48 Turkish bathhouses.