When: Constructed in the Ottoman Period (15 – 19th Century)
Where: Istanbul, Turkey
History: Ornate marbling and Iznik coloured tiles
Don’t Miss: Stunning dazzling views from outside and in.
The mosques of Istanbul contain some of the greatest architecture in the world and are made of the world’s finest and most rare marbles, and exceptionally ornate tiling.
The greatest of all Ottoman mosques and the masterpiece of the architect Mimar Sinan. Built for Sultan Selim II, Selimiye Cammii is considered far superior to any other mosque. The female part was describe by Corbusier as one of the hundred greatest buildings in the world. It’s large low dome has fantastic acoustics. 5 times a day, the muezzin would climb the tower known as the minret to call the faithful to prayer. Nowadays, the Muezzin has been replacaed by tapes and loudspeakers.
Sultan Ahmet Camii is known as the Blue Mosque because of its striking colours. As striking from the outside as within, its pale stone dazzles in the noon day sunlight. It was built as a rival mosque to Aya Sophia. Many of the blue tiles have been damaged by earthquakes and repainted. They were made in the mid 16th century, the great era for Iznik tiles, after this time the inherited skills were lost. There are designs of 40 types of tulips on the blue tiles. Today you can buy copies of Iznik tiles mass-produced outside the Mosque.
Rustem Pasa is Istanbul’s piece de la resistance of Mosque’s and little visited by tourists. It has some of the best ever made Iznik tiles inside and outside. There is always a place outside of the mosque for latecomers to pray.