Süleymaniye Mosque (Süleymaniye Camii)#3 in Best Things To Do in Istanbul
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Nestled within Istanbul's historic Fatih district by the Golden Horn, Istanbul University and the Grand Bazaar, Süleymaniye Mosque is considered one of the city's most impressive Ottoman mosques. Built between 1550 and 1557 after being commissioned by its namesake, Süleyman I, this grand structure features multiple gardens and a large dome, plus high-end finishes like mother-of-pearl window shutters, painted corbels, traditional ceramic tiles and stained-glass windows.
Recent travelers described their time at this mosque as "amazing" and "peaceful," adding that it is just as stunning as the Blue Mosque and cannot be missed. What's more, this attraction is not as central and popular as others like the Hagia Sophia Museum, meaning you won't have to rub elbows with lots of tourists while visiting. But remember, like other religious sites in the area, Süleymaniye Mosque hosts six prayer services every day, so expect occasional closures and dress conservatively. If you forget to wear long pants or pack a scarf to cover your head, the mosque offers loaner coverings at its entrance.
Süleymaniye Mosque is free to visit when calls to prayer are not taking place. An updated prayer schedule is offered on Namaz Vakti's website. The mosque can be reached by taking the metro's Yenikapi-Haciosman (M2) line to Vezneciler station; the ferry to the port in Eminönü; or the tram's Bagcilar-Kabatas (T1) line to the Eminönü, Beyazit or Laleli-Üniversite stop. On-site facilities include restrooms, a tea garden and a cemetery where Süleyman I and his wife were laid to rest. Cafes and shops are available on the streets surrounding the property.
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#1 Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii)
Sultan Ahmed I was determined to build a mosque that rivaled the nearby Hagia Sophia, and most would agree that he accomplished this task – or, at least, came close. Since the early 1600s, the Blue Mosque has been quite the sight to behold, with an array of domes, semidomes and minarets (or narrow towers). It's also one of the biggest tourist draws in Istanbul.
Visitors say this mosque offers "stunning architecture inside and out." It can, however, get busy, so consider arriving early. And remember, the Blue Mosque is an active religious site, so dress conservatively. Women should wear headscarves, as is custom. If you forgot to bring one, you can borrow one from the mosque.
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