Commissioned by Suleyman the Magnificent and built in the 16th century by the celebrated Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan, Suleymaniye Mosque is the largest imperial mosque in Istanbul. Surrounded by a sprawling landscaped courtyard and with a clear view of the Bosphorus Strait, it’s a stunning and active place of worship to visit in Turkey.
Located in Istanbul’s historical and bustling Fatih neighborhood, Suleymaniye Mosque is part of a larger complex of historical buildings that include a religious school and the mausoleums of sultans. The lofty interior of the mosque is decorated with Iznik tiles and colorful carpets, and its four minarets punctuate the skyline.
Some small-group and private walking tours combine a visit to Suleymaniye Mosque with other Ottoman mosques nearby, including Selimiye Mosque and the Blue Mosque, or with the Grand Bazaar and Hagia Sophia.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The mosque is closed to visitors during prayer times.
- Suleymaniye Mosque is a must-visit for history and architecture enthusiasts.
- Prayer times are longer on Fridays, so the mosque will be closed for more of the day. Make sure to check on any Muslim and Turkish holidays, as that can also affect opening hours.
How to Get There
Suleymaniye Mosque is uphill from the Eminonu tram stop, and is also accessible from the Beyazit tram stop. There are also various public buses that stop near Suleymaniye Mosque. The easiest way to reach Suleymaniye Mosque directly is by taxi. Skip the hassle of arranging your arrival with an Istanbul tour that includes round-trip transport.
When to Get There
Suleymaniye Mosque is less crowded than Istanbul’s Blue Mosque, so most times of day are calm for visiting. The mosque is closed to non-Muslims during prayer times, which are listed in front of the mosque and can also be found online.
Visiting an Active Mosque in Istanbul
Visitors to Turkey’s mosques are required to dress appropriately. Women must cover their head, shoulders, and knees, while men should make sure their shoulders and knees are covered. Bring along a scarf for convenience, though headscarves are provided at the door. Wear a long skirt or pants and a short-sleeve shirt, and make sure to wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off.