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Suleymaniye Mosque

If you approach Istanbul by sea, this great mosque, commissioned in 1550 by Suleyman the Magnificent, the richest and most powerful of the Ottoman sultans, will probably be your first impression of the city. Suleymanie Mosque stands at the crest of a large ridge on the Golden Horn, where even amongst the skyscrapers of today’s Istanbul, it still dominates the city’s skyline, as it has for nearly four and a half centuries. Inside, the mosque impresses both with its awesome size, and with its sacred simplicity, which is undisturbed except by gorgeous stained-glass windows done by a glazier of much renown, and known as “Ibrahim the Drunkard.” Mimar Sinan, the greatest of the Ottoman architects, said after seven years of construction on this project, “I have built thee, O emperor, a mosque which will remain on the face of the earth until judgement day.” Sinan, who lived on the grounds for many years and met his own judgement day at the grand old age of 97, was buried in a small tomb in the courtyard outside the mosque, where you can pay your respects to him. Not far from the mosque you will see a walled garden, which Sultan Suleyman “the Magnificent” and his crafty wife Roxelana, the inspiration for many a royal scandal, chose as their own final resting places.

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