Suleymaniye Mosque built on top of the third hill of historical Istanbul is one of the biggest mosques of the city.

The truly staggering size of the Suleymaniye Mosque is one of its most distinctive features – built by the legendary architect, Mimar Sinan, it is known as one of his masterpieces, and his largest design. It is not just the awe-inspiring size that is impressive (the central dome stands 47m high), but also the elegantly decorated interior. The sense of space and light is emphasized the supporting semi-domes to the northwest and southeast and the monumental arched spaces to the southwest and northeast.

It took eight years to build, and was completed in 1557, as tribute to Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. The beautiful Suleymaniye Mosque is a fitting tribute to both the sultan and the architect. Suleyman was the longest reigning sultan of the Ottoman Empire (1520-1566), and is regarded by some as a “Second Solomon” because of the harmony and justice under his rule.

Also in the Sülemaniye Külliyesi (mosque complex), there is a medrese (religious school), soup kitchen, hospital, caravanserai, library, bazaar and several tombs. Some of these facilities are still in use today. Notable are the tombs of Süleyman the Magnificent and his wife, Haseki Hürrem, (also known as Roxelana). Both are impressive; inlaid with precious metals, stones and stained glass. The tomb of the architect, Mimar Sinan, is also located here, in the north-western corner.