As Istanbul is a transcontinental city, it can be described as a delightful meeting place of the East and West. Several powerful kingdoms had fought for dominance over this city owing to its strategic location. Many of the merchants who travelled the Silk Road in the past also decided to settle down in the city and gave it a cosmopolitan environment. Some of the greatest architectural wonders built during the rule of the Byzantine Empire have stood the test of time and continue to draw a large number of visitors to Istanbul every year. Also worth exploring are the magnificent mosques built by the Ottoman rulers, which you’ll get to visit during your time spent in this majestic Turkish city.
One of the most famous mosques you can explore with your Istanbul holidays is Sultan Ahmed Mosque, popularly known as the Blue Mosque. This mosque has been named after Sultan Ahmed I, the Turkish Sultan who ruled this region during the early 17th century and under whose reign it was constructed. Upon its completion, it had caused an angry reaction in the Muslim world as its number of minarets equalled that of the Great Mosque of Makkah. To stop the growing dissent, a seventh minaret was finally sent to Makkah. The Blue Mosque gets its name from the blue shades on the upper portions of its domes and minarets.
Yet another charming mosque you can visit while holidaying in this city is the Suleymaniye Mosque. It was built on the orders of the Turkish Sultan, Suleiman I, who is popularly known as Suleiman the Magnificent. The mosque was designed by the renowned imperial architect of those times, Mimar Sinan. Its construction began before 1550 and was completed in 1557. The awe-inspiring architecture of this mosque attracts many tourists every year and the mosque is also used by many worshippers to offer their prayers.
Don’t miss the Rustem Pasha Mosque during your Istanbul holidays. It is another fabulous work of architecture by Mimar Sinan and was completed in 1563. Located in the Fatih District, this mosque is home to some of the beautiful hand-painted blue, red, and green tiles. As the mosque is relatively less popular than the Blue Mosque, you’ll have lesser crowds during your visit and this would allow you to see all the intricate works closely. A visit to this mosque also gives you the chance to explore the Spice Bazaar located nearby.
The Fatih District is home to another beautiful mosque called the Fatih Mosque. It was built on the orders of Sultan Mehmed II, commonly known as Mehmed the Conqueror, between 1463 and 1470. The mosque was rebuilt using a different design in 1771 after the original structure was damaged about 5 years earlier in a devastating earthquake. This mosque is one of the shining examples of classic Turkish-Islamic architecture. The Sahn-i Seman Medrese, which was a part of this mosque, was in use until the early 20th century. It was an educational complex founded by Ali Qushji, a Turkish astronomer.