Suleymaniye Mosque Stands Out As The Most Popular Tourist Attraction In Istanbul
Mimar Sinan was the genius behind the Suleymaniye mosque in Istanbul. The aim behind the construction of the Suleymaniye mosque was to do better than the architects and designers of the Hagia Sofia. The aim was to introduce a unique kind of architecture where the entire structure of the mosque would not require any buttresses.
They were to be hidden beneath the walls of the mosque. The Sulaimaniye could not do better than Hagia Sofia in all respects, but it did do better in giving a feeling of freedom while within. It is a bit smaller than the Hagia Sophia. All said and done, a blend of the architecture of Byzantines and the Ottomans can be seen here.
The Suleymaniye mosque is probably the biggest mosque in the city. Some parts of the mosque are open to the public like the kitchen, which is now a restaurant. Do pay a visit to the tombs of King Suleyman while in the complex. While you are here, you must also pay a visit to the tomb of the queen, Sultana Roxelana. The garden behind the tomb of the king has his queen buried in it.
Unfortunately, the original Suleymaniye mosque was destroyed in a fire that gulped down the original structure in 1660. The structure visible today is a work of restoration done by Sultan Mehmed IV. There was some more architectural damage to the structure by the earthquake that struck the city in 1766. There was another fire in the complex during World War I when the mosque and its precincts stored and supplied weapons and ammunitions. A comprehensive restoration work was done on it in 1956.