Built in the 1550s on the orders of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, the Süleymaniye Mosque is the largest and most imposing mosque in all of Istanbul. A short walk away from the Grand Bazaar, this striking Ottoman building dominates the Third Hill. From this vantage point you can enjoy excellent views across the waters of the Golden Horn.
Designed by the renowned Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan, the Süleymaniye Mosque was designed to outdo the grandeur and scale of the Hagia Sophia. Sinan borrowed Judeo-Christian design elements and one example of this is an allusion to the Dome of the Rock, which was built on the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. Sultan Süleyman regarded himself as something of a second Solomon, the famously wise king of Judah and Israel.
Although the mosque is not quite as large as the Hagia Sophia, it is still vast. Enter the light-filled, open space to see that its interiors are actually less decadent than most mosques in Istanbul. The use of tiles is minimized and there is just a subtle application of ivory woodwork.
Head to the vast courtyard with minarets at each corner on the west side. The main dome is 174 feet (53 meters) high, and at the time it was constructed it was the highest above sea level in the Ottoman Empire. The mosque complex also houses a hospital, medical school and primary school. You are welcome to visit the restaurant and steam baths. See the striking tombs of Süleyman and his wife Roxelana in the garden behind the mosque. The tomb of Mimar Sinan, who was the chief architect for several Ottoman sultans, is nearby, just outside the walls of the mosque.
The Süleymaniye Mosque is open to visitors daily and free to enter. The mosque still functions as a place of worship, not just a tourist attraction, so non-Muslim guests are advised to refrain from visiting when Muslims come here to pray. Prayer happens a few times a day and on Friday afternoons and is preceded by the call to prayer from loudspeakers.
Niles Hotel Istanbul - Special Class is a 7-minute walk from the Grand Bazaar, and 10 minutes from Sultan Ahmed Mosque, popularly known as the Blue Mosque. Guests can walk 20 minutes to landmarks like Hagia Sophia, Topkapı Palace, and the Basilica Cistern. Atatürk Airport is a 30-minute drive.
This family-friendly Istanbul hotel is located in the historical district, within a 10-minute walk of Pera Museum and Galata Tower. Istiklal Avenue and Istanbul Cruise Ship Terminal are also within 1 mi (2 km).
Located in Old City, this spa hotel is steps from Cemberlitas Bath, Column of Constantine, and Sultan Ahmet Cami. Grand Bazaar and Sultanahmet Square are also within 10 minutes.
Located in Old City, this romantic hotel is steps from Basilica Cistern and Hagia Sophia. Hippodrome and Topkapi Palace are also within 10 minutes.
Located in Old City, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Rustem Pasha Mosque, Suleymaniye Mosque, and Spice Bazaar. Grand Bazaar and Basilica Cistern are also within 1 mi (2 km).
Located in Old City, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Cagaloglu Hamami, Basilica Cistern, and Hagia Sophia. Hippodrome and Grand Bazaar are also within 10 minutes.
Located in Old City, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Grand Bazaar and Cemberlitas Bath. Hippodrome and Suleymaniye Mosque are also within 15 minutes.
This family-friendly Istanbul hotel is located in the historical district, within a 5-minute walk of Basilica Cistern, Hagia Sophia, and Cagaloglu Hamami. Hippodrome and Blue Mosque are also within 10 minutes.