The Mosque of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent (1557) is Istanbul’s largest and grandest.
Designed by the Ottoman Empire’s greatest architect, Mimar Sinan, the Süleymaniye dominates the city’s Third Hill, just north of Istanbul University, overlooking the Golden Horn (map).
Inside the Süleymaniye is simply breathtaking in its expanse, a near-square 58 meters (63 yards) by 59 meters (64 yards). Süleyman—and his genius architect,Mimar Sinan—attempted to rival the spaciousness of Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia) by hiding the massive buttresses that support the dome, incorporating the buttresses into the walls, and adding rows of porphyry monolith columns beneath the tympanums on either side. Although not as large as Ayasofya, the Süleymaniye exceeds it in feelings of light and openness.