|New Mosque - Istanbul|
The sixty-eight year construction was due to the controversy surrounding the mosque. At the time, a predominantly Jewish population inhabited the Eminönü neighbourhood. Safiye Sultan hoped that by placing the mosque there it would expand the Islamic influence within the city. The increasing political power of the Valide Sultan and the enormous expenses needed to erect the New Mosque caused much discontent amongst the Janissaries and Safiye Sultan was forced to abandon the project.
The incomplete structure fell into ruins and was largely destroyed by a fire in 1660. In that same year, Valide Turhan Hadice decided to complete the project as a work of piety. Construction was finally completed in 1663 and the mosque was opened in 1665.
The exterior of the mosque is comprised of sixty-six domes in a pyramidal design and two minarets. The main dome is 36 metres in height. Along the South wall of the mosque there are water taps for those wishing to perform ritual purifications.
|New Mosque - Istanbul|
On a nice day, sit on the stairs outside the courtyard, but know that you run the risk of being the recipient of pigeon droppings. From the steps, you can watch other tourists, Turks, and hawkers mill about. You’ll find the usual snack vendors, plus a few selling flags, light-up toys, and other trinkets. There’s also a nice view of Galata Tower to the North.
The inner courtyard is similar to the Blue Mosque’s, but smaller. The perimeter consists of 26 painted domes, with elegant red and white designs. There is a charming sadirvan in the centre where men may cleanse themselves before entering the mosque.
In its calm atmosphere, visitors will be able to sit and appreciate the stunning interior without feeling rushed. Beautiful stained glass windows let light flood into the mosque. Innumerable İznik tiles that depict stars, suns, flowers, and every imaginable shape adorn the New Mosque’s walls, domes, arches, and pillars. The countless patterns in red, blue, green, and white unify to create a cohesive masterpiece.
The central dome rises 36 metres from the floor and has a diameter of 17.5 metres. On the corners where the pillars meet the dome are four elaborate calligraphic plates with the names of the first four khalifahs.
- Women must cover their hair and shoulders and both men and women must cover their bare legs.