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The Suleymaniye Mosque

            The Suleymaniye Mosque, sitting on Istanbuls highest hill and dominating the Golden Horn, is one of the most important landmarks for the great city. Though it is not the most massive of the Ottoman mosques, it can be considered as one of the grandest and most beautiful architectural complexes. Commissioned by Suleyman I, known as 'The Magnificent', the Suleymaniye was the fourth imperial mosque built in Istanbul and it reflects upon its patron's nickname. The mosque and its surrounding buildings were designed by Mimar Sinan, the most famous and talented of all imperial architects. (Istanbulite).
             The important religious structure, The Suleymaniye Mosque, blended influences of Islamic and Byzantine architectural elements. The dome is supported by four giant piers. The four monumental piers are decorated with round medallions inscribed with the names of the first four caliphs. Additional support is provided by red granite pillars on either side. The multiple domes and the arches supporting them also help to buttress and disseminate the weight of the massive central dome. All these columns are an essential part of the complex dome and support system of the Suleymaniye, and also had significant symbolic value. At the time it was built, it was said that, The dome was the highest in the Ottoman Empire, measuring about 53 meters high and has a diameter of 27.5 meters. When measured from sea level, but still lower from its base and smaller in diameter than that of Hagia Sophia. (zgr Ediz and Michael J. Ostwald) The Suleymaniye was built during the later years of Suleiman's life, when the sultanhad renounced luxury and chosen to live a more abstinent and spiritual life, and the interior of his mosque reflects those preferences. The interior is breathtaking in its size and pleasing in its simplicity, with very restrained use of Iznik tiles. The main aspects of decoration consists of calligraphic panels with quotations from the Quran on themes of worship, divine forgiveness and, above all, religious orthodoxy.

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