The Suleymaniye Mosque, surrounded by Golden Gorn, is situated on one of the seven hills of Istanbul. Built at the request of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in 1550, the mosque boasts extraordinary architectural elegance. A social complex, known as a Kulliye, was added in 1557. Unfortunately, the mosque was damaged by a fire in 1660, and its columns were covered with cement and oil paint. Despite this, it remains one of the most popular mosques in the city, drawing numerous worshippers due to its impressive techniques. The mosque can be divided into three main features; architecture, illumination, and an acoustic sound system.

.exterior of Suleymaniye Mosque in istanbul backyard of suleymaniye mosque of ottoman empire entrance of suleymaniye ottoman architecture by mimar sinan: suleymaniye mosque istanbul touristic destinations: suleymaniye mosque interior of suleymaniye mosque by famous ottoman architect sinan

The renowned Architect Sinan saw Suleymaniye Mosque as a master builder and its unique features draw attention. To prevent mist from oil lamps from contaminating the domes, he ingeniously built mist rooms to capture the mist using the airflow. Additionally, the first ink was produced from the mist of the oil lamps, and some of the books in the library were written with it. One more architectural feature is that the mosque was originally built as a work room and, since there was no electricity at the time, it was illuminated with 275 lamps and huge candles placed on either side of the mihrab.
Moreover, two of the columns supporting the central dome of the Suleymaniye Mosque were brought from Baalbek, a region located between Egypt and Lebanon, and the others from Karahisar in Afyon, Turkey. It is said that scholars and hodjas educated the public about Islamic law, tafsir (commentary on the Qur’an), hadith (the sayings and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad), and Sufism from the minbar (a seat) supported by those columns. The complex surrounding the mosque was composed of schools, a library, baths, public kitchens, a caravanserai, a hospital, and shops.

The second feature; One of the distinct characteristics of the mosque is its acoustic system, designed by Architect Sinan to ensure that the sermon could be heard equally from any point. He used bowls to create this system. The last feature; Magnificent Sinan placed ostrich eggs between the bowls of the chandeliers; however, over time, the number of eggs decreased and their colour has become darker. Sinan used them because dry ostrich eggs prevent the place from being infested with scorpions and other insects, such as spiders. In the back courtyard are the tombs of Suleiman and his beloved wife Roxelane (Hurrem Sultan), as well as graves of other prominent people.


In recent years, the Suleymaniye Mosque has been in danger of collapsing. If left unchecked, the entire structure could have crumbled in a matter of time. The archways of the building had taken on the majority of its weight, and their stones had become severely worn. With no written documents providing information on how to repair it, the best engineers and architects in Turkey were summoned, yet they were unable to come to a consensus as each had a different idea. Eventually, one of them found a secret hole in the mosque.

Inside was a piece of paper with a note written in Ottoman Turkish. After being examined by multiple specialists, it was confirmed to be authentic. It turned out the letter belonged to the great architect Sinan, who had provided detailed instructions on how to repair the mosque. Following his directions exactly, they were able to save the Suleymaniye. To this day, the note is kept in the Topkapı Palace.

ceiling of suleymaniye mosque portrait of legendary ottoman architect sinan


Visiting the Suleymaniye Mosque is the perfect way to experience centuries of history and culture. Not only will you have the chance to explore the intricate architecture, but you will also be able to marvel at the majestic features that have been carefully preserved and restored. From the mist rooms to the ostrich eggs and the secret note left behind by Mimar Sinan, every aspect of the mosque tells a story.

At Tour Maker Turkey, we are proud to offer tailor-made tours to the Suleymaniye Mosque that will give you an in-depth look at the history and beauty of this Istanbul landmark. Our knowledgeable guides will tell you the stories behind each feature of the mosque and share interesting facts about its past, helping you to gain a deeper appreciation of the culture and tradition of the city.

Choose Tour Maker Turkey and let us show you the marvels of the Suleymaniye Mosque.