The Selimiye Mosque in the Turkish city of Edirne is considered the masterpiece of the eminent architect Sinan and the pinnacle of Ottoman architecture. The mastery of the façade is continued in its interior in the cleverly arranged light inlets, magnificent ornamentation and masterfully crafted marble works of art.
The magnificent Selimiye Mosque is located in the European part of Turkey in the former Ottoman capital of Edirne and is one of our top 10 sights in Turkey. It was commissioned for construction by Sultan Selim II in the 16th century AD. He also gave it its name.
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PICTURES: Selimiye Mosque in Edirne
Sinan's masterpiece from the outside....
The Selimiye Mosque, also called the Sultan's Mosque, was built by the famous architect Sinan, who had also built the wonderful Suleiman Mosque in Istanbul and was instrumental in the expansion of the most sacred al-Haram Mosque in Mecca.
However, he himself described the Selimiye Mosque as his masterpiece, the construction of which he still directed at the ripe old age of 80. Today, it is considered a highlight of Ottoman architecture and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011.
In Edirne, it is unmistakably the most monumental and important building in the city. Its four minarets, each 71 metres high, can be seen from far away and tower over the roofs of Edirne many times over. Between them is the mosque on an octagonal floor plan with a dome supported by 8 columns and a diameter of over 30m, making it mightier than that of the Hagia Sophia.
Many admirers believe that Sinan outdid himself in the composition of this silhouette of domes, stained glass windows and arches piled one on top of the other, framed by the majestic minarets.
...and from the inside
Not only its external appearance, but also the ornamentation and decorations inside are considered masterpieces. The inside of the dome is decorated with special calligraphy and ornaments, the workmanship of the marble pulpit testifies to the unparalleled craftsmanship of the builder, and the washing fountain in the middle of the assembly hall is also a very special piece of marble art.
The octagonal floor plan meant that fewer supporting pillars had to be erected, which left more space for windows. Thus, the inner beauty of the mosque is further emphasised by the grandiose incidence of light achieved, which once again sets off the calligraphies, mosaics, buildings and murals.
Visit to the Selimiye Mosque
The Selimiye Mosque with its magnificent interior is one of the top 10 sights in Turkey and is not denied to non-Muslims. Adequately dressed - shoulders, knees and head covered, shoes off - you may enter the Selimiye Mosque.
Photography is only allowed when there are no worshippers in the mosque. There are no regular opening hours, but in the summer months the mosque is usually open during the day.