Mosque is located in a neighbourhood of Eminonu named after it Suleymaniye. It was built by Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent in 1557 and designed by Achitect Sinan.
The Suleymaniye complex is represented the second and most important stage in an achitectural tradition which began with the Fatih Complex, namely symmetreical grouping and use of geometric shaping among the layout of the complex buildings. Of unprecedented size and architectural design, the Suleymaniye Complex is includes a mosque, medrese, hospital, lunatic asylum, infirmary,toms,hamam,market and a primary school.
The Suleymaniye Mosque is an awesome work of art, dating from a time when Ottoman state was at its most splendid. Grandeur symbolised the period. The mosque, which were the most important feature of the silhouette of Istanbul, were not just places of worship. The complexes and neighbourhoods which surrounded them made them into focus of social and cultural life, an institution which characterised city life.
The Suleymaniye Mosque and Complex incorporate the art and genius of Architect Sinan, the greatness and strength of the Ottomans and the beauty and elegance of Istanbul.
During the construction of the mosque one of the largest building suplly sheds in the history and architecture was realised. The supplies brought from all corners of the Empire. The columns found in some ancient ruins were detached, brought to Istanbul and used in the interior of the Mosque.
The mosque is surrounded by an outer courtyard with the kiblah, or direction to Mecca, being on one side along with an enclosed cemetery containing graves and a mausoleum the opposite side to the kiblah contains an inner courtyard.
The marble-covered inner courtyard is entered through a magnificent three-storey door the likes of which are seen in no other mosque in Istanbul. The courtyard contains a pool and water-jet fountain. Again unlile the other mosques, the four mimarets stand in the four corners of the courtyard. The proportion exhibited by the minarets and the domes is a product of genius.
The domes rise from the ground to a height of 50meters, and the minarets located where the courtyard meets the walls of the mosque have three galleries and are 76 meters high. The minarets located at the side of the courtyard with the entrance have to galleries and are 56 meters high. This proportion is the key to the perfection of the mosques silhouette.
The mosque has a main dome supported by two half-domes. Due to the design of the domes, the acoustics within the mosque are exceptionarlly clear. The air circulation within the mosque is also exceptional and the space above the entrance is illumunated by 4000 candles. Soot obtained from the candles is one of the raw materials the making of ink used for calligraphy.
The marble pulpit and mosque niche are works of art in the field of engraving and carving. The carved lectern of the preacher, windows and doors of wood inlaid with mother of pearl, stained glass windows and other decorative features of mosques are a low profile, the emphasis in the interior of the mosque is decoration through calligraphy.
The medrese of the complex is found to the east and west of the mosque along the walls of the inner courtyard. To the west is the Evvel Medresse, Sani Medresse,Primary School,and Medical West, the Rabi Medresse and Salis Medresse are located to the east. The Darulhadis Medresse is found on the kiblah side of the mosque and runs paralled to the garden of Istanbul University.
The hamam of the complex is located where Rabi Medresse and Darulhadis Medresse intersect. It is a single hamam for men only and was restored in 1980 after being used as a store room for a period.
The clinic, hospital, mental asylum and infirmary are located in the northwest of the complex parallel to the kiblah. The soup kitchen of the complex the Daruzziyafe, functions today as a restaurant serving classical Turkish cuisine.
The kiblah side of the mosque has a covered cemetery with a great number of graves, the toms of Suleyman, the magnificent and his wife Hurrem Sultan and a room for the keeper of the tombs.
In the tomb belonging to Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent are the remains of Sultan Ahmed OO, his wife Rabia Sultan, daughters Mihrimah Sultan and Asiye Sultan, and Sultan Suleyman II and his mother Saliha Dilasub Sultan.