Sehzade and Suleymaniye Complexes

It is sad to think about the time we have left here in Istanbul, but we definitely are trying to make use of this time as much as possible. The plan was a class visit to the Sehzade complex (1544-1549) and Suleymaniye complex (1550-1557), both built by the great architect (who is Yet to disappoint me) Mimar Sinan.

After a morning of studio work and separate discussion with our professor Ozayr, a group of us joined both professors, Deniz and Ozayr, to take the tram from Tophane to Aksaray stop where we continued walking to the Sehzade mosque’s courtyard (the designated meeting spot). We enjoyed a couple minutes of sketching before being joined by the rest of the group.


We started by a short lecture about the mosque’s history (only mosque built for a prince “Sehzade Mehmet” who was assassinated by the Janissaries) before making our way into the mosque. The feeling was incredible. What Sinan was able to achieve in this building would have never been achieved by any other architect. Both spaces (courtyard/interior) felt connected, and the threshold (door) did not feel as a barrier but rather a progression from a space into another. This fit perfectly with the Islamic religion, whose main believes rotate around the idea of 2 stages (life/death)(earth/heaven) linked with one god.


We then made our way out to the gardens surrounding the mosque into an alley way leading to the line of aqueducts passing nearby.


We were mesmerized by a young girl trying to showcase her soccer skills in front of our cameras. Too bad we did not have any young talent scouts amongst us.


We got back in the complex and tried to enter the mausoleum of Sehzade Mehmed, but were unfortunately stopped by the security guards who just would not let us in.


Sadly enough we left the Sehzade complex and continued walking towards the Suleymaniye complex. Before arriving, we decided to enter the beautiful campus of Istanbul University and get a view of the mosque from the top of one of the university’s gate.

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Our first visit was to the fourth (Rabi) Madrasa, which had a beautiful green courtyard, and then continued towards the mosque.


As usual, before getting into the building we stopped in the courtyard of the mosque to talk about a brief history of the mosque (was too busy taking pictures of students). I then spotted Ozayr just standing still with his head high admiring the monumentality of the building (would not miss taking picture of that).

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The interior of this building was different than the one before. Still centrally planed, it contained columns on the interior brought from Alexandria and Constantinople along with marble from the hippodrome. This was intended to show case global politics.


We finally left the complex and moved towards our final destination of the day, the Turbesi (tomb) of Mimar Sinan to pay respect to the Master.


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