The Suleymaniye Mosque is the largest mosque in Istanbul and was built between 1550-1557 AD by Sultan Suleyman I – “Sulyman the Magnificent”. Suleyman was the richest and most powerful Sultan of the Ottoman empire.
This Sultan is remembered by the Turks as the one who introduced laws and not by his magnificent title.
He undertook much construction, rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem (which was part of the Ottoman Empire 1516), and a lot of monuments throughout his empire.
Inside the mosque you will be impressed by its size and also simplicity: tiles from Iznik and colored glass-work brings harmony to a place of prayer and silence. Four massive solid columns support the mosque: one from Baalbek, another from Alexandria and two from old Byzantine Palaces. The paintings inside the mosque are dated from the 19th century and were recently renovated.
The Süleymaniye was ravaged by a fire in 1660 and was restored by Sultan Mehmed IV. Part of the dome collapsed again during the earthquake of 1766. Subsequent repairs damaged what was left of the original decoration of Sinan (recent cleaning has shown that Sinan experimented first with blue, before turning red the dominant color of the dome).
During World War I the courtyard was used as a weapons depot, and when some of the ammunition ignited, the mosque suffered another fire. Not until 1956 was it fully restored again.
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