Suleymaniye Complex

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The Süleymaniye Complex (Turkish: Süleymaniye Külliyesi) is an Ottoman imperial mosque-mausoleum complex located on the Third Hill of Istanbul, Turkey. Süleymaniye Külliyesi is a multi-functional complex founded by Sultan Süleyman I in Istanbul. In terms of size and visual impact, the Süleymaniye represents the apex of Ottoman imperial architecture executed in the capital city.

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Suleymaniye Mosque

The Süleymaniye Camii is the largest and most important structure in the entire complex. It was built by the Ottoman sultan Suleyman (r. 1520–1566 CE) and the mosque was named after him. The mosque is located at the highest end of the city of Istanbul. It is designed to glorify the sultan. Construction of this mosque began before 1550 CE and was nearly completed in 1557 CE. The mosque is located at the highest end of the city of Istanbul. It is designed to glorify the sultan Construction of this mosque began before 1550 and was nearly completed in 1557 CE.

Sultan Suleyman commissioned Mimar Sinan (d. 1588 CE), the greatest engineer and architect of his time for the work of this mosque. The architecture and craftsmanship of the mosque are very beautiful and attract many worshipers and visitors. The complex sits on the site of the first Ottoman palace, known as the Old Palace, on one of Istanbul’s seven hills toward the shore of the Golden Horn, above Eminönü.

Mausoleum of Suleiman the Magnificent

circa 1566 CE

The Mausoleum of Suleiman the Magnificent bears the date of 1566, the year of his death, but it was probably not completed until the following year. On 6 September 1566, Suleiman, who had set out from Constantinople to command an expedition to Hungary, died before an Ottoman victory at the Battle of Szigetvár in Hungary. The sultan's body was taken back to Istanbul to be buried, while his heart, liver, and some other organs were buried in Turbék, outside Szigetvár. A mausoleum was constructed above the burial site, and came to be regarded as a holy place and pilgrimage site.

Mausoleum of Hurrem Sultan

circa 1566 CE

The tomb of Hurrem Sultan is located south-east of the Suleiman's. Hurrem died on 15 April 1558 and was buried in a domed mausoleum (türbe) decorated in exquisite Iznik tiles depicting the garden of paradise, perhaps in homage to her smiling and joyful nature. Her mausoleum is adjacent to Suleiman's, a separate and more somber domed structure, at the courtyard of the Süleymaniye Mosque Külliye.

Tomb of Mimar Sinan

circa 1570 CE

The tomb of Mimar Sinan was built in 1588 CE at the north-eastern end of the Mosque Complex. The school of architecture of Mimar Sinan has not survived. In comparison to the royal tombs of Suleiman and Hurrem, Sinan's tomb (turbe) is quite simple and modest. The small mausoleum is located at the extreme point f the triangular area where it is located like a ring stone with very harmonious dimensions. Inside the small mausoleum, other than the grave of Sinan, there are two other graves as well.

Suleymaniye Mosque Cemetery

circa 1570 CE

The cemetery lies in the garden adjacent to the main mosque's qibla wall. Not only Suleiman and his wife Hurrem, a large number of notable people are also buried here. The graveyard is located adjoining the mosque to the south.


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