Suleymaniye and the surrounding area is one of the historical districts of Istanbul, which mainly carries the signature of “Mimar (Architect) Sinan”. It's become known in all ages and it is essential to see this neighbourhood. We’re starting our trip on a hot day from Saraçhane with our young guide, art historian Çiçek Anıl.
At the level of municipal buildings, in the middle of the green field which is at beginning of the road that goes to Fatih, the ancient ruins buried might not draw the attention of many people. But this place hosts the largest church of the city in Byzantine times before Hagia Sophia. Polieuktos Saints Church, was made to be built by a big Roman family member Juliana Anikia in the legendary palace area in 527 years. some of the most valuable finds obtained from excavations are now exhibited in the Archaeological Museum.
We pass across the road to Şehzade Mosque which is called by “Mimar Sinan” as ‘my apprenticeship work ‘, but in there Ms. Çiçek goes towards to a cute little cute mosque which is again escaped from the attention. The Burmalı Mescit Mosque was hidden from twisted trees, was built by Egypt Muslim judge by Mr. Osman (Efendi) before 1540. Its spiral minaret is a sample of brick minarets which has very few samples in Istanbul, a very beautiful example to early Ottoman period.
Midpoint of İstanbul
When we walk into the side garden of the Şehzade Mosque a large spacious green area greets the comers. The complex was started to be built for Süleyman the Magnificent initially by Mimar Sinan between 1543-1548 years but as the news came on about the death of 22 years old Suruhan Governor Sultan’s son Mehmet, it is said that Magnificent has dedicated this mosque to his most beloved son.
The complex is expanded over a wide area and is between Fatih and Beyazıd complexes and overlooking to both Golden Horn and the Marmara Sea. Its structure covers mosques, madrasas, tabhane, stable, primary school, soup kitchen and the tomb.
In the shrines in the section near Sultan’s son Mehmed the tombs of such famous personalities like Rüstem Paşa, Ibrahim Pasha, Sultan’s son Cihangir, Hatice Sultan Ottoman are located. But of course, the most spectacular tomb is of Sultan’s son Mehmed with its octagonal architecture. Although “Mimar Sinan” calls it as 'my apprenticeship work', Şehzade Mosque and its complex are considered as one of the Istanbul's most beautiful and most impressive classic structures. Both the innovations he tried from an architectural perspective and the adornments seen in the minaret has no other example.
The mosque also contains some very interesting details. For example two small basins, called Lamb Fountain on Saraçhane Street originally fountains built for birds to drink water. The exact corner of the garden wall surrounding the mosque is the central point of Istanbul!
Millennium Stone in Istanbul in the Byzantine Period was being considered as a starting point. This aforementioned point at Şehzadebaşı was detected as the midpoint. Architecture Sinan being a considerate person to preceding history and cultures did not pass over this information. This information has been managed to immortal with a coloured marble column in the corner of the wall.
The section extends to Vezneciler from Saraçhane, and it is sad that only two-three belts of the structure was left from Direklerarası, the place where Istanbul was introduced to cinema and entertainment for the first time.
Without going to Kalenderihane Mosque, Damat Ibrahim Pasha has become famous because of the importance he gave to the science of hadith. Lunch time came but there are still lot of places to see and the time is limited. Vefa Bozacısı which is resisting to time and has a righteous reputation rescues us. Boza which is now also drank in hot days vitalizes us. Haci Sadik Bey emigrated from Albania in 1870 and gave its texture was remembered by us with gratitude once again.
Akataleptos Church in the Byzantine period, was given to Kalenderiye sect and named as Kalenderihane mosque by Fatih’s request and order following his conquest. Although it is said that these dervishes who were largely been influenced by Buddhism, do not give any importance to world’s goods and showing off, and wandering around by covering their intimate parts, were sent away from Istanbul during the reign of Magnificent their names are living with this mosque. As a church, the structure was built as quite big and flashy it got its today’s form in 12th century. Marble slaps cover inside the high walls of the structure.
Süleymaniye is so different
The soothing of Boza our hunger is not enough anymore. We run to famous Süleymaniye haricot beans restaurant at top speed. After a delicious dinner now we can give our attention now to Sulaymaniye. This magnificent work of the “Mimar Sinan”, finally started going through a serious renovation. Therefore we are unable to enter into the mosque and it won’t be possible to enter at least one more year. But this is not an obstacle for local and foreign tourists. Illustrated information boards placed on the outside of the mosque are helping a considerable number of tourists.
Although Architect Sinan calls it a work of his semi skilled period, for most people Süleymaniye Mosque is one of the greatest works him and it was built, between 1550-57.
The mosque which has earned Istanbul its famous skyline was built in former Ottoman Palace’s garden on the sets where Golden Horn have been built as a part of Süleymaniye complex that consists mosque, madrasa, library, hospital, bath, soup kitchen, treasury and shops. Mosque’s dome rests on four pillars; it is 53 m in height and has a diameter of 26.5 m. The minarets that stand in the four corners of the mosque courtyard, of two of them are 76. M high in accordance with its three sets of balconies and terraces, while the other two minarets are 56 meters high with two balconies. The total of 10 balconies is pointing out the Magnificent being 10th Sultan.
In fact, Suleymaniye Mosque has so many features so that it is subject of an article all by itself. Mamluk style of the main entrance was tried her for the first and last time here, 249 pieces of narrow mouthed amphora that have been generated in the dome provide acoustics to provide amphora narrow mouth, as everyone knows, gathering of candle works in one room in order to produce ink.
Tiryaki Street which is located on the side of Suleymaniye Mosque and has shops and restaurants on itself receives its street name from the time a mixture of herbs here is sold to patients. The most of these mixtures of medications intended to contain opium which is causes addiction.
Suleymaniye Mosque in the back, the white, small but sympathetic tomb which is at the back of Süleymaniye mosque is Sinan’s last resting place. As he resembles himself to a compass, he made his own shrine in the form of a compass too. A dispenser is located at the head of the compass.
If you turn back of the Mufti House Ayrancı road is the best example to how these roads were having a marvellous texture once upon a time. Old wooden Turkish houses which are repaired are proving the link in between while you are just looking at them. Cafe Golden Horn with its beautiful picturesque is taking its place as an obscure resting spot in our notes.
Our last stop of Vefa Panayia Ayazma. The Ayazma which is at the back street of İMÇ is a good example to faith has no religion. It is told that, especially in the rites that is done in the 1st day of each month, Muslims. Christians and anyone are waiting in the long queue to drink from its healing water and to wish.
We’re having our last coffees at Zeyrekhane and review the places we have been to till from this morning. How many places we have seen in a small area, what we have listened! We have seen too many paces in such a small region and listened. This is İstanbul, like an endless sea which sentences are not enough to tell.
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Written by: Evin Doğu