The first and foremost thing to mention about the building’s architecture is that architect Sinan, who is no doubt the greatest figure of Ottoman architecture, built this beautiful mosque. He was responsible for the construction of more than 300 major structures, the Şehzade Mosque being his first imperial mosque on monumental scale.
The Şehzade Mosque has a square shape. Four half-domes support its large central dome, which has an area of 38X38 meters. The main dome has a diameter of 19 meters and a height of 53 meters. The mosque has two minarets with a two-minaret balcony. They are decorated with bas-relief sculpture in perfect geometric forms. This pretty decoration was a far cry from the architectural simplicity of that period. Şehzade Mosque’s nine domes encircle the courtyard and form a symmetric unity with the fountain located in the middle. This fountain was added during the reign of Murad IV, who wanted to praise the architect Sinan because of the decoration of the latter.
Apart from the mosque, the complex consists of a madrasah, a refectory, a double guesthouse, a primary school, a caravansary and tombs. The madrasah forms the northeast wall of the complex and was constructed in 1547. It has an asymmetric shape and is decorated with colorful tiles. It consists of a classroom and 20 smaller rooms. The primary school and refectory are on the southern side of the complex and are cut off from the rest of the complex by the main avenue. The guesthouse, a hostel attached to a mosque where travelers, dervishes and mystics could stay for free for a few days, is located just like the madrasah towards the east on the outer wall of courtyard. It has unique ashape and consists of two unconnected sections. Its rooms have rectangle shapes.
A big and peaceful courtyard that isolates the mosque from Istanbul’s chaos surrounds the complex. During Istanbul’s hot summer days the courtyard is a heaven and a place where you can have a little nap!
There are six mausoleums within the complex, five in the enclosed cemetery and one within the walls of the other court. The tomb of Şehzade Mehmed, which was built before the mosque, is one of the finest mausoleums. You can find more information about those mausoleums ahead.
The final thing that can be said about the Şehzade Mosque’s architecture is that the mosque we see today is different from the original mosque. Considering the many fires Istanbul has experienced, this should not come as a surprise.
Photo Credits: LWYang