Presiding over the Ottoman empire at the height of its power, sultan Suleyman the Magnificent (ruled 1520-1566) championed the construction of large Friday mosques throughout Istanbul. Mimar Sinan, the chief royal architect who was himself a convert to Islam, oversaw this building campaign, transforming the landscape of the capital city. Sinan’s mosques — designed for sultans, royal family members and high-ranking government and military officials — are sublime works of art and architecture, featuring massive domes that take on mountain-like profiles, soaring pencil-shaped minarets, masterful Iznik tile decoration and inscriptions designed to communicate God’s will to the faithful. They are yours to discover.
What’s in this guidebook
- Art and architecture review. We provide background on the great architect and his design aesthetic, isolating trademark features that you will see again and again while touring. To make things come alive, we have packed our review with high-resolution images.
- Tour of the highlights. Following our tradition of being the most valuable resource for culture-focused travelers, we offer a tour of Sinan’s top Friday mosques in Istanbul (itinerary below). For each, we reveal its most important architectural and decorative features and offer a discussion that ties it all together.
- Advice for getting the best cultural experience. To help you plan your visit, this guidebook supplies logistical advice, maps and links to online resources. Plus, we give our personal tips for getting the most from your experience while on location.
- Information the way you like it. As with all of our guides, this book is optimized for intuitive, quick navigation; information is organized into bullet points to make absorption easy; and images are marked up with text that explains important features.