Suleymaniye is a mosque located on the third hill in Istanbul. It is the second-largest mosque in Istanbul. The mosque was built by the great Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan. Construction began in 1550 and the mosque was completed in 1557. The entire complex (kulliye) took a further two years to complete.
Hagia Sofia was used as a model for the Suleymaniye mosque; however, this mosque is more symmetrical and slightly smaller. The mosque had to be restored several times; in 1660 it was partially destroyed by fire and in 1766 part of the dome collapsed after an earthquake.
A great way to visit Suleymeniye Mosque and other major historical sights is with an Istanbul Day Tour.
Like most other mosques in Turkey, the Suleymaniye Mosque was built for both religious and cultural needs. The complex is made up of the mosque itself, a hospital, primary school, public bath, caravanserai, four Qur’an schools, a hadith school, a medical college and a public kitchen. The hospital is now used as a printing factory by the army and the kitchen is a restaurant, all other structures still remain intact.
The mosque has a monumental courtyard, with marble, granite and porphyry columns. Behind the garden the tombs of Sultan Suleiman I, his wife, daughter, mother and sister can be found. Also just outside the mosque walls is the tomb of the architect Sinan. There are ten galleries, indicate that Suleiman was the 10th Ottoman Sultan. At the time of construction, the dome of Suleymaniye was the highest, at 53m, but now Hagia Sofia holds this title.