Stunning Süleymaniye

Dominating the Ýstanbul skyline, the Süleymaniye mosque complex, funded by Sultan Süleyman I, is master architect Sinan's crowning monument for the city.

Stunning Süleymaniye

 Dominating theÝstanbul skyline, the Süleymaniye mosque complex, funded by Sultan Süleyman I,is master architect Sinan's crowning monument for the city. Built on the ruinsof a long-abandoned, burnt-out palace, construction began in 1550 and tookseven years to complete. The largest mosque in the city, when it was finishedthe complex included an imaret (soup kitchen), guest house, hospital, hammamand college in addition to the mosque itself. During the construction, some ofthe workmen complained to the sultan that Sinan was idly sitting inside of themosque smoking a nargile (water pipe) rather than doing any actual work. Thesultan arrived to investigate these allegations in person and found thearchitect sitting with his water pipe. When asked why he was wasting timesmoking rather than overseeing the work site, Sinan replied that there was notobacco in the pipe, only water. He explained to the sultan that he waslistening to the sound of the water resonating in the pipe to ensure that theacoustics throughout the mosque would be perfect enough for the reading of theQu'ran. Satisfied with the answer, the sultan left Sinan in peace to continuewith his work.

The result of his efforts was a mosque that is breathtaking in size. Andindeed, the acoustics inside are near perfect. The floor plan of the Aya Sofiawas adapted for use in the mosque. There are four massive support columns, onefrom Baalbek, one from Alexandria and two from derelict Byzantinepalaces in Ýstanbul. While the decorations are relatively simple, there aresome beautiful examples of Ýznik tiles in the mihrab, as well as elegantstained glass windows.

In the southeast corner of the complex are the tombs of Süleyman and hiswife Hürrem Sultan (known as Roxelana in the west). Süleyman's tomb is linedwith tiles and has small lights in the dome, simulating stars. Hürrem Sultan'stomb has flowered tiles and stained glass, giving it an air of serenity.

For the faithful, as well as tourists, Süleymaniye is awe-inspiring.Although some of the original buildings of the complex are no longer servingtheir original functions, the mosque and surrounding gardens are well worth thetrip. After a day of shopping at the nearby Grand Bazaar, this is the perfectlocation to pause, reflect and refresh.

Today's Zaman

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16