The war of the mosques definitely took place in Istanbul! Ten centuries after the construction of Hagia Sophia, Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent requested that a mosque be built to eclipse it. And this was done. Work on the structure began in 1549 and was completed in 1556.
The Süleymaniye Mosque is entered via three large doors opening onto the outdoor courtyard. Inside, the building covers an area that is almost square. The dome rises up 47m and has a diameter of 28m. Natural light comes through 138 windows. The four minarets symbolise the fact that Suleiman was the fourth Ottoman sultan to set off on a conquest for Istanbul.
The mosque, like all imperial mosques, also included a religious complex that had two bazaars, a hospital and a school, among other things.
The mosque was built on the order of Sultan Süleyman, who wanted to outshine the mosque of Saint Sophia.© Rognar / 123RF
The huge dome, which measures 28 metres in diameter, is supported by four 53 metre high pillars. The delicate decorations on the vault add to the feeling of vertigo.© Emilie Jusot / EASYVOYAGE
The marble-paved courtyard is framed by a gallery of 28 domes.© Emilie Jusot / EASYVOYAGE
The sober use of the ceramic tiles in the decoration of the vaults and domes was a result of a new style that originated in Iznik.© Emilie Jusot / EASYVOYAGE
The mosque's great dome is surrounded by several half and smaller domes, creating an overall feeling of grandeur.© Luciano Mortula