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Unveiling Selimiye Mosque: A Journey through History & Art

Have you ever seen a building that leaves you speechless? The Selimiye Mosque in Edirne, Turkey, is one such masterpiece of Ottoman architecture. Designed by the famed architect Sinan, who is considered one of the greatest Ottoman architects, it boasts intricate calligraphy and geometric patterns adorning the entrance. Its preservation over the centuries rivals even that of the iconic Hagia Sophia.

Selimiye Mosque

Selimiye Mosque, one of the most remarkable Ottoman architectural structures, is renowned for its stunning dome, minarets, and müezzin mahfili. Located in Edirne, it is a must-visit destination for tourists from all over the world who are fascinated by its magnificence and sophistication. The construction of this masterpiece was commissioned by Sultan Selim II in the 16th century and completed by the legendary architect Mimar Sinan. Additionally, Edirne is also famous for its Hagia Sophia, palace, and medrese.

With its stunning Ottoman architecture and rich history, visiting Selimiye Mosque is an experience like no other. Ottoman architects created this architectural gem, which continues to inspire awe in all who visit. The mosque's design draws inspiration from the famous Hagia Sophia, making it a must-visit museum for history and architecture enthusiasts alike.

Location and History of Selimiye Mosque

The Selimiye Mosque, along with the Hagia Sophia, is a magnificent masterpiece of Islamic architecture located in the city of Edirne, Turkey. It was built during the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century by the famous architect Mimar Sinan. The mosque is named after Sultan Selim II, who commissioned its construction. The mosque also features a medrese and a palace, with the main dome being the highlight of its design.

Where is Selimiye Mosque Located?

The Selimiye Mosque, an exemplary masterpiece of Ottoman architecture, was designed by the renowned architect Sinan. It is located in Edirne, a city situated in northwestern Turkey near the borders of Greece and Bulgaria. The mosque stands on a hill overlooking the city and is surrounded by a medrese and palace.

What is Selimiye Mosque?

The Selimiye Mosque, also known as Selimiye Palace, is an architectural wonder that has been hailed as one of the greatest works of Islamic architecture. Its elegant design, intricate decoration, and impressive size make it a true masterpiece that attracts visitors from all over the world. The mosque's main dome, designed by the legendary architect Sinan, is a stunning example of Ottoman architecture. In addition to the mosque, the complex also includes a medrese, or Islamic school, which further highlights the importance of education in Islamic culture.

When Was Selimiye Mosque Built?

Construction of the mosque, known for its magnificent Ottoman architecture, began in 1568 and was completed seven years later in 1575. The mosque was built during the reign of Sultan Selim II, who wanted to leave his mark on history by commissioning this grand project. The Selimiye Foundation Museum now stands on the site of the mosque's former madrasa, which was destroyed in a fire. The mosque's main dome was designed by Sinan, one of the greatest architects of the Ottoman Empire.

Who Built Selimiye Mosque?

The architect responsible for designing and overseeing the construction of Selimiye Mosque and Medrese was Mimar Sinan. He was one of the most prominent architects during the Ottoman Empire's rule and designed many other famous buildings throughout Turkey, including Edirne Palace with its magnificent main dome.

Mimar Sinan, a great architect of Ottoman architecture, spent several years planning every detail of the Selimiye Mosque Complex to ensure that it would be both functional and beautiful. He incorporated elements from different architectural styles, including Byzantine, Persian, and Islamic designs to create a unique style that became known as "Sinan Style." The old mosque was transformed into an imperial mosque with the addition of new features by Mimar Sinan.

One notable feature of this Ottoman architecture mosque complex is its massive dome, which spans over 31 meters in diameter. The dome rests on four colossal pillars that support its weight without any additional reinforcement or support structures. Designed by the renowned architect Sinan, the mosque is accompanied by a medrese within the complex.

Another impressive feature of Selimiye Mosque is its intricate decoration, which reflects the beauty of Ottoman architecture. The mosque, designed by the renowned architect Sinan, also includes a medrese where students could study Islamic theology and sciences. Located in Edirne, the walls and ceilings of Selimiye Mosque are covered with beautiful calligraphy, geometric patterns, and floral motifs that were painted by some of the most skilled artists of the time.

Selimiye Mosque

Architecture and Design of Selimiye Mosque by Mimar Sinan

The Selimiye Mosque, located in Edirne, Turkey, is a masterpiece of Islamic architecture and an art form that reflects the Ottoman Empire's power and wealth. The mosque's construction began in 1569 and was completed in 1575 during the reign of Sultan Selim II. It was designed by Mimar Sinan, one of the greatest Ottoman architects. The mosque also features a medrese, or Islamic school, which was built adjacent to the main prayer hall.

Mimar Sinan: The Architect Behind Selimiye Mosque

Mimar Sinan, the chief royal architect for three Ottoman sultans, is known for his contributions to Ottoman architecture. His famous works include the Süleymaniye Mosque and Rüstem Pasha Mosque in addition to the Edirne Mosque. He is regarded as one of the most influential architects in history and his works are available under CC BY license.

The Construction of Selimiye Mosque

The construction of Selimiye Mosque, a masterpiece of Ottoman architecture designed by Sinan, began on April 10, 1569 in Edirne. It took six years to complete the mosque, with over a thousand workers involved in its construction. This information is licensed under CC BY.

The mosque's structure, designed by Sinan, includes four minarets, a central dome, and a unique feature of a separate building for the muezzin. The central dome of Edirne Mosque has a diameter of 31 meters and rises to a height of 43 meters above ground level. It is supported by eight massive pillars that are connected by arches.

Unique Features of Selimiye Mosque

Selimiye Mosque, designed by Sinan, has several unique features that set it apart from other mosques built during that time in Edirne. Additionally, the mosque is licensed under CC BY, allowing for its images to be shared and used with proper attribution.

  • Separate Building for Muezzin: Unlike other mosques where the muezzin calls out from inside the main building, at Selimiye Mosque in Edirne, designed by Sinan, there is a separate building for this purpose.

  • Most mosques in Edirne, including Selimiye Mosque designed by Sinan, have two or three minarets; however, Selimiye Mosque has four minarets.

  • Central Dome: The mosque's central dome, inspired by the work of architect Sinan, is larger than any other dome built before it. It was designed to be bigger and higher than the Hagia Sophia's dome in Istanbul, which was built 1000 years earlier. This impressive structure can be found in Edirne.

Materials Used in Selimiye Mosque

The Selimiye Mosque was constructed using a combination of materials, including brick, stone, and marble. The exterior of the mosque is made of cut stone and brick, while the interior walls are decorated with marble panels.

CC BY License

In 2011, the Turkish government released a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license for images of Selimiye Mosque. This means that anyone can use these images for free as long as they give credit to the photographer or source.

The Central Dome and Minarets of Selimiye Mosque

The Selimiye Mosque, located in Edirne, Turkey, is a masterpiece of Ottoman architecture. Its central dome and minarets are among the most impressive features of the mosque complex.

The Great Dome

The central dome of the Selimiye Mosque is one of the largest in the world. It measures 31 meters in diameter and stands at a height of over 42 meters above the ground level. The dome's interior is decorated with intricate geometric patterns that create an illusion of depth and movement.

The great dome of the old mosque is supported by eight massive pillars that rise up from the floor to the base of the dome. These pillars, located in the imperial mosque known as the Selimiye Mosque Complex, are adorned with marble panels featuring Quranic verses and floral motifs. The space between each pillar is filled with smaller domes that enhance acoustics during prayer times, including in the Şerefeli Mosque.

The Minarets

The Selimiye Mosque boasts four towering minarets that stand at each corner of its rectangular courtyard. Each minaret measures 71 meters tall and features intricate stone carvings on its sides.

Atop each minaret of the Selimiye Mosque Complex, there are balconies with stunning views of the city. These balconies were traditionally used for calling Muslims to prayer at the old mosque, but they also provide visitors with panoramic views over Edirne's rooftops.

The Outer Courtyard

The outer courtyard of Selimiye Mosque is surrounded by a portico with arches that provide shade to visitors during hot summer days. In the center of this courtyard, there is a large fountain made out of marble and adorned with intricate carvings.

This fountain was used by worshippers for ritual ablutions before entering the mosque for prayers. Today, it serves as a beautiful centerpiece for tourists to admire while taking pictures or enjoying a moment of relaxation.

Tomb Of Sultan Selim II

In addition to its impressive architectural features, Selimiye Mosque also houses the tomb of Sultan Selim II, who commissioned the mosque's construction. The tomb is located in a separate room within the mosque complex and features intricate decorations on its walls and ceiling.

Visitors can pay their respects to Sultan Selim II by visiting his tomb located in the old mosque and admiring the masterful craftsmanship that went into its creation.

Interior Design and Decorations of Selimiye Mosque

The Selimiye Mosque is a stunning example of Ottoman architecture located in Edirne, Turkey. The mosque was designed by the famous architect Mimar Sinan during the 16th century and is known for its intricate interior design and decorations.

Intricate Interior Space

One of the most striking features of the Selimiye Mosque is its intricate interior space. The mosque's walls are adorned with beautiful tile panels that showcase traditional Ottoman designs. These tiles are made from Iznik ceramics, which were produced in the nearby city of Iznik during the 16th century.

In addition to the tile panels, the interior space also features muqarnas, which are ornamental vaults that adorn many Islamic buildings. The muqarnas at Selimiye Mosque are particularly impressive due to their intricate details and patterns.

Stunning Prayer Hall

The prayer hall at Selimiye Mosque is another highlight of its interior design. The walls of the prayer hall are made from marble and feature intricate carvings that showcase traditional Ottoman designs. In addition to these carvings, the prayer hall also features stunning Iznik tiles that cover much of its surface area.

The mihrab (a niche in a mosque indicating the direction to Mecca) in the prayer hall is particularly noteworthy due to its size and detail. It is made from white marble and features intricate carvings that showcase traditional Ottoman designs.

Restoration by Gülru Necipoğlu

In recent years, much effort has been put into restoring Selimiye Mosque's art and design. One person who played a key role in this restoration was Gülru Necipoğlu, an expert on Islamic art history at Harvard University.

Necipoğlu oversaw several restoration projects at Selimiye Mosque, including work on the müezzin mahfili (a raised platform for the muezzin to call the faithful to prayer) and the porticos. She also oversaw work on the mosque's exterior, including its walls, side windows, and other decorative elements.

The interior design and decorations of Selimiye Mosque are truly breathtaking. From its intricate tile panels to its stunning marble walls, every aspect of this mosque is a testament to Ottoman architecture and design. Thanks to the efforts of experts like Gülru Necipoğlu, this stunning piece of history will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come.

Significance of Selimiye Mosque in Ottoman Empire and Islamic Art

The Selimiye Mosque, located in Edirne, Turkey, is an architectural masterpiece that showcases the power and prestige of the Ottoman Empire during the 16th century. Built by Mimar Sinan, the chief Ottoman architect, it is considered one of his most important works and a prime example of Islamic art.

Unique Features

One of the most striking features of Selimiye Mosque is its grand dome. At 31 meters in diameter and 43 meters high, it dominates the mosque's interior space. The dome was built using innovative techniques that allowed for its large size without compromising its structural integrity.

Another unique feature of Selimiye Mosque is its four minarets. These tall towers symbolize the power and importance of Islam in Ottoman society. The minarets are intricately decorated with calligraphy and geometric patterns, showcasing the beauty and sophistication of Islamic art.

Importance in Ottoman Society

Selimiye Mosque was built during a period when the Ottoman Empire was at the height of its power. It was commissioned by Sultan Selim II to serve as a symbol of his authority over both religious and secular matters. The mosque's grandeur reflects not only Selim II's wealth but also his desire to establish himself as a powerful ruler.

In addition to its symbolic significance, Selimiye Mosque played an important role in daily life for Ottomans living in Edirne. It served as a place for prayer, education, social gatherings, and even political meetings.

Importance in Islamic Art

Selimiye Mosque's intricate decoration showcases some of the finest examples of Islamic art from this period. The walls are covered with beautiful calligraphy that quotes passages from the Quran. The patterns used throughout the mosque are based on geometric shapes such as circles and squares, which are repeated to create complex designs.

The use of calligraphy and geometric patterns in Islamic art reflects the importance of these elements in Islamic culture. Calligraphy is seen as a way to connect with the divine, while geometric patterns are used to symbolize the unity and harmony of all things.

Influence on Later Mosques and Religious Activities

The Selimiye Mosque, built in the 16th century, had a significant impact on religious activities and architecture in the Ottoman Empire. Here are some of the ways that this mosque influenced future generations:

Architectural Style

The Selimiye Mosque's architectural style has been imitated by many other mosques throughout the Ottoman Empire. The mosque's design features a central dome surrounded by four semi-domes, which became a standard feature of Ottoman mosques. This style was used in later constructions such as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (also known as the Blue Mosque) in Istanbul.

Management System

The Selimiye Mosque also served as a model for other religious institutions at the time. Its management system was an example of how to run a mosque effectively. The mosque was managed by a complex hierarchy of officials who oversaw every aspect of its operation, from finances to maintenance to education.

Economic Impact

The construction of the Selimiye Mosque had a significant effect on the local market and economy. The building process provided work for many people in Edirne, where it is located, boosting employment and economic activity. Once completed, the mosque drew visitors from all over, stimulating trade and commerce in surrounding areas.


In addition to serving as a place of worship, education was also an essential function of mosques during this time period. The Selimiye Mosque's school provided education to future generations of scholars and religious leaders. Students studied Islamic theology alongside subjects like mathematics and astronomy.

Overall, mosques play an important role in Islamic society as places where Muslims can gather for prayer and community events. They are often located at the center of towns or cities so that they are easily accessible to everyone.

Regular maintenance is necessary to keep mosques functioning correctly since they are typically heavily used buildings with high traffic volumes daily. Repairs may be needed due to structural damage or wear-and-tear over time.

Selimiye Mosque - A Symbol of Ottoman Grandeur and Islamic Heritage

In conclusion, Selimiye Mosque is a masterpiece of Ottoman architecture and design. Located in Edirne, Turkey, the mosque was built by Mimar Sinan during the reign of Sultan Selim II. The mosque's central dome and minarets are some of the most impressive features that make it stand out from other mosques. The interior decorations and intricate designs also add to its grandeur.

Selimiye Mosque holds significant historical and cultural importance as it served as a symbol of Ottoman power and Islamic heritage. Its influence on later mosques and religious activities is evident even today.

If you ever find yourself in Turkey, visiting Selimiye Mosque should be on your bucket list. Not only will you be able to admire its beauty but also learn about the rich history behind it.


Q: Can tourists visit Selimiye Mosque?

A: Yes, tourists are allowed to visit Selimiye Mosque. However, visitors are required to dress modestly and remove their shoes before entering the mosque.

Q: How long does it take to tour Selimiye Mosque?

A: The average time spent touring Selimiye Mosque is around 45 minutes to an hour.

Q: Is photography allowed inside the mosque?

A: Photography is allowed inside the mosque but without flash or tripod usage.

Q: What is the best time to visit Selimiye Mosque?

A: The best time to visit Selimiye Mosque is during spring or autumn when temperatures are mild.

Q: Are there any entrance fees for visiting Selimiye Mosque?

A: No, there are no entrance fees for visiting Selimiye Mosque.

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