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The illuminated mosques of Istanbul, gleaming at night like jewels of a crown are sure to catch your attention. This section outlines the historical mosques of Istanbul still standing from 15th century and open to worship. Muslims perform prayers (namaz) five times a day -morning, noon, afternoon, evening and night - either at mosques or at home. However the Friday noon prayer, called Cuma namazı, is especially for men and all Muslim men are encouraged to perform the prayer at a mosque.

If you would like to visit a mosque, it is best to do so outside of prayer times, so as not to disturb worshippers. All visitors are asked to remove their shoes and women are expected to cover their heads before entering. Since namaz (prayer) takes place on the ground, the floors are covered with carpets and to walk on the carpets with your shoes on is out of the question. There are shelves at the entrance of the mosques in which to place your shoes. However at the busier mosques, frequented by tourists, we suggest you take your shoes with you to avoid theft. Please also keep in mind that sleeveless shirts and shorts are not acceptable attire when entering a mosque. Even you visit a mosque out of worship hours you may still see Muslims praying, performing prayer or reciting versus from the Koran. Once again, you are strongly reminded to remember that a Mosque is a holy place of worship and to act, speak, and dress accordingly.

Dolmabahçe Camii (Dolmabahçe Mosque)
This mosque located on the Bosphorus in the southern part of Dolmabahçe Palace is one of the artworks of the Balyan family of architects. It is one of the highly decorated Baroque-style mosques. As a part of the palace complex it contains a front section in which the Sultan and state officials could worship. The spherical arrangement of the windows, resembling a peacock tail is an unusual sight fairly uncommon among the architect of mosques. The two minarets both have a gallery. The inner door is ornamented in a combination of the Baroque and Empire styles. A precious chandelier hangs from the niche. The mihrap (niche) and the minber (pulpit) of the mosque are made of porphyry marble.

Eyüp Camii (Eyüp Mosque)
This is considered to be holiest mosque in all of Istanbul. The Ottoman Sultans held their coronation ceremonies here. The faithful still flock here to pray to the relics of Eyüp, a companion of the Prophet Mohammed who died during the Islamic assault on Constantinople in 670. It is outside the city walls, near the Golden Horn. Eyüp was also the first mosque built after the Ottoman conquest of the city. Be sure not to visit on Fridays, when the mosque is packed with worshippers. Up the hill through the graveyard is the impressive Pierre Loti Café House, offering refreshments and a fascinating view of the Golden Horn.

Fatih Camii (Fatih Mosque)
The imperial Fatih Mosque, constructed between 1463 and 1470, bears the name of the Ottoman conqueror of Istanbul, Fatih Sultan Mehmet, and is the site of his mausoleum. Standing on one of the seven hills of Istanbul, it is vast in size and great houses a complex of buildings, Medrese (theological school), hospices, baths, a hospital, a caravansary and a library, making it well worth a visit.

Mihrimah Sultan Camii (Mihrimah Sultan Mosque)
Walls of glass fill the four immense arches that support the central dome at the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque inside the old city walls at Edirnekapı. 161 windows illuminate this mosque, built by the famous Architect Sinan for Mihrimah Sultan, the daughter of Süleyman the Magnificent, in 1555.

Nuruosmaniye Camii (Nuruosmaniye Mosque)
An 18th century mosque located at Cağaloğlu and influenced by baroque architecture is considered a turning point in mosque architecture. This mosque has also given its name to one of the major entrances of the Kapalı Çarşı (Covered Bazaar) that is situated near by.

Nusretiye Camii (Nusretiye Mosque)
Nusretiye Camii, located at Tophane district is a 19th century mosque constructed in the Empiric style and is widely known as Tophane Mosque among natives. It is one of the artworks of famous Balyan family of architects. There is a fountain with 12 taps in the stone courtyard and a pointed spire supported by ten trim columns. The interior is decorated with calligraphy of well-knows artists of its time. The dome highlights the generous style as it is ornamented with wooden bas-reliefs covered with gold leaves. The prayer niche and the pulpit are made of marble and bear complicated embroidery.

Ortaköy Camii (Ortaköy or Büyük Mecidiye Mosque)
A superb setting on a point extending into the Bosphorus. This Ottoman baroque-rococo mosque displays a wonderful sculptural approach. It is situated in Ortaköy Square, which is a very attractive place for the people of İstanbul and visitors especially on the weekends. It was built in 1854-55 by the famous architect Nigos Balyan under the directive of Sultan Abdülmecid. There is a two-story pew on the left reserved for the Sultan's prayers. The quay in front of the mosque was for the Sultan to approach by his Sultanate boat and enabled him to go directly to the pew. Some plates and on the walls and the Kelime-i şahadet (testifying one's belief in Islam) on the pulpit are the art works of Sultan Abdülmecid.

Rüstem Paşa Camii (Rüstem Paşa Mosque)
The mosque complex also includes four Medrese (theological school), a school of medicine, a caravansary, a Turkish bath, and a kitchen and hospice for the poor. The Rüstem Paşa Mosque was built in 1561, another skillful accomplishment of the architect Sinan, on the orders of Rüstem Paşa, Grand Vizier and son-in-law of Süleyman the Magnificent. Exquisite İznik tiles panel the small and superbly proportioned interior.

Sokullu Mehmet Paşa Camii (Sokullu Mehmet Paşa Mosque)
The 16th century Sokullu Mehmet Pasa Mosque built in an awkwardly shaped plot on a steeply sloping hill near Sultanahmet is one of the most beautiful examples of classical Turkish architecture and a masterpiece of the architect Sinan. Inside, breathtakingly beautiful blues, greens, purples and reds color the elegant designs of the Iznik tiles.

Sultanahmet Camii (Blue Mosque)
This most famous mosque of the city and stands facing Haghia Sophia magnificence with its tremendous elegant six minarets and is the only one of its kind in Turkey. It was built by the Architect Sedefkar Mehmet Ağa, who adhered to the mosque building traditions established by Architect Sinan, for Sultan Ahmet I in the square carrying his name, between 1609-1616. In Ottoman period only Sultans and the members of their immediate families were allowed to build mosques with multiple minaret. It has three doors, the largest opening into the main courtyard, which is used as the entrance today. The mosque is almost square in plan. The central dome is 43 m in height and is 33.4 m in diameter supported by four marble piers with four arches sprung between and flanked on all four sides by a semi-dome with cupolas at the corners. 260 windows surround the mosque providing the interior with a warm, overall light that illuminates the rich tiling and tracery. As you enter you will surly be silenced by the overwhelming beauty and the proportion and balance of its internal spaces. Due to its beautiful blue, green and white tiling on the lower walls of the mosque and those of the gallery it has been named the "Blue Mosque" by Europeans. These tiles, whose blue tones imbue the interior with an ethereal atmosphere, were produced in İznik when the industry there had achieved full maturity and are decorated with superb floral motifs in an exquisite blue-green palette. The inscriptions were made by Seyyid Kasım Gubari. The practice of stringing up lights between the minarets of mosques and of spelling out messages during Ramazan was begun by Ahmed I and has since become a custom. During the tourist season a light and sound show both entertains and informs not only the tourists but also the natives. We strongly recommend you watch the sun set behind the mosque in an ever-changing exhibition of light and shadow.

Süleymaniye Camii (SüleymaniyeMosque)
The cascading domes and four slender minarets of Süleymaniye Mosque dominate the skyline on the Golden Horn's west bank. Considered the most beautiful of all imperial mosques in İstanbul, it was built between 1550 and 1557 by architect Sinan, the most famous architect of the Ottoman golden age. On the crest of a hill, the building is conspicuous for its great size, which the four minarets that rise from each corner of the courtyard emphasize. Inside, the mihrab (prayer niche) and the mimber (pulpit) are made of finely carved white marble; fine stained glass windows color the incoming streams of light. It was in the gardens of this complex that Süleyman and his wife Hürrem Sultan had their mausoleum built, and near here also that Sinan built his own tomb.
The massive scale of this mosque is best appreciated from a distance. Up close, the mosque is formal and rather forbidding, but it is interesting to stroll around the surrounding complex of buildings.

Şehzade Camii (Şehzade Mosque)
Kanuni Sultan Süleyman (The Magnificient) had this mosque built by famous Architect Sinan in memory of his favorite son Mehmed. The construction started in 1544 and completed in 1548. This was the first royal mosque that Sinan built and he referred it as “the work of my apprenticeship” later. It is located at Saraçhane across the Municipality Palace overlooking both the Golden Horn and the Marmara sea.. The mosque is in the middle of a complex composed of theology school, hospice, stables, imaret and the mausoleum of Şehzade Mehmed that attracts attention with its exterior decorations and sliced dome. Like many of his mosque constructions, the Şehzade Mosque has a square base upon which rests a large central dome flanked by four half domes on the sides and one small dome at each corner. The ornaments on the minarets are striking.

Yeni Cami (New Mosque)
Built between 1597 and 1663, the Yeni (New) Mosque hovers over the harbor at Eminönügreeting the incoming ferryboats and welcoming tourists to the old city. It is considered a late example of classical Ottoman architecture; this is one of the most familiar landmarks in the city not only with its architecture but also with thousands of pigeons waiting to be fed. Marvelous İznik tiles decorate the sultan's balcony.While there don't miss out on visiting the famous Mısır Çarşısı (Spice Market) which is just next door and was built to meet the maintenance cost of the mosque

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