Originally known as the Valide Sultan Mosque (Turkish: Valide Sultan Camii), the New Valide Sultan Mosque (Turkish: Yeni Valide Sultan Camii) was built between 1660 and 1665 in the Eminonu neighborhood of Istanbul, Turkey. It is one of the most famous pieces of architecture in Istanbul. It is on the Golden Horn, at the end of the Galata Bridge to the south.
The Valide Sultan Mosque (Queen Mother)
The construction of the mosque began in 1597. Sultana Safiye, later known as Valide Sultan (Queen Mother) of Sultan Mehmed III, issued the order. Originally called the “Valide Sultan Mosque,” it was commissioned by her in her role as Valide Sultan following Mehmed III’s accession to the Ottoman throne in 1595.
The original architect was Davut Aga, an apprentice of the great Mimar Sinan. Davut Aga passed away in 1599, however, and was succeeded by Dalgic Ahmed Cavus. The construction took more than half a century and was completed by another valide Sultan, Sultana Turhan Hatice, mother of Sultan Mehmed IV.
Disagreement arose in the court over the project because of the location and the financial implications, and political discord delayed the project. The Jewish population of the city was concentrated in the Eminonu district, which also served as the city’s main commercial hub. By putting the mosque there, Sultana Safiye hoped to increase Islam’s clout in the city, taking advantage of local and foreign merchants’ growing unhappiness with the growing influence of their Jewish competitors, who provided an easy pretext for the Sultan to seize their property.
However, the vast monetary outlay drew sharp criticism. In particular, the Janissaries felt the mosque was a waste of money and resented the Valide Sultan’s rising political power. After the death of Mehmed III in 1603, Sultana Safiye was compelled to give up on the project. After Sultana Safiye was sent to the harem, the new Sultan, Ahmed I, lost interest in the project, and construction was stopped.
The New Valide Sultan Mosque
After 1603, the unfinished building crumbled to dust, and it was further damaged by the Great Fire of Istanbul (1660), which began on July 24, 1660, and lasted for just over two days (around 49 hours, according to the chronicles of Abdi Pasha). The mother of Sultan Mehmed IV, Sultana Turhan Hatice, was encouraged by Imperial Architect Mustafa Aga to finish the project as an act of devotion later that same year. In addition to the New Mosque, Sultana Turhan Hatice commissioned the construction of the adjacent Spice Bazaar. So, in the closing months of 1660, work resumed on the mosque, and the adjacent bazaar was built.
In 1663, the construction of the mosque was finished, and the following year, in 1665, it opened to the public. The old name “Valid Sultan Mosque” was changed to “New Valide Sultan Mosque” (Yeni Valide Sultan Camii). As time went on, the public began referring to it simply as the “New Mosque” (Yeni Cami).
The Architecture of the Yeni Mosque
The exterior of the mosque itself boasts 66 domes and semidomes in a pyramidal arrangement, as well as two minarets. The main dome is 36 meters tall and is surrounded by four smaller domes on either side. Taking inspiration from both Mimar Sinan’s earlier Sehzade Mosque and Sedefkar Mehmed Agha’s Sultan Ahmed Mosque, the New Mosque features a dome design similar to those of both.
The mosque proper is preceded on its west side by a monumental courtyard (avlu), as is typical of Istanbul’s imperial mosques. The New Mosque has a square courtyard that is 39 meters on a side and is enclosed by a colonnaded peristyle that is itself roofed by 24 miniature domes. The focal point is an ornate sadirvan (ablution fountain). The water faucets used for the ritual washings are located on the south wall of the mosque. Iznik tiles adorn the sub-porch area of the mosque’s exterior facade. The mosque’s masonry was done with stone blocks brought from Rhodes.
The mosque’s interior is a square with sides that are each 41 meters long. Four massive piers serve as the primary structural support for the dome and define the interior space. Colonnades with thin marble columns and arches in a variety of styles surround the perimeter and the back of the main space. The dome has a diameter of 17.5 meters and stands 36 meters tall.
Many Ottoman imperial mosques feature calligraphic plates bearing the names of the first four khalifas—Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali—at the four corners where the dome meets the pillars supporting it. Semi-domes extend the interior space along the building’s east-west axis, with smaller domes atop the nave’s four corners and even smaller domes atop the galleries’ four corners.
A gilded screen can be found in the northeastern corner of the gallery, providing privacy for the imperial court as they worship. This Royal Loge is connected to the Royal Pavilion in the mosque’s northeastern quadrant via a long elevated passageway.
Blue, green, and white Iznik tiles, which are generally considered to be of lower quality than tiles in earlier imperial mosques, adorn the interior of the building. The minbar was covered by a cone-shaped canopy that was held up by thin columns made of marble. The mihrab was decorated with golden stalactites.
Q: What is the Yeni Mosque?
A: The Yeni Mosque is a mosque located in Istanbul, Turkey.
Q: Where is the Yeni Mosque located?
A: The Yeni Mosque is located in the Eminönü neighborhood of Istanbul, Turkey.
Q: What is the history of the Yeni Mosque?
A: The Yeni Mosque was built in the 16th century by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed III, and it was one of the largest mosques in Istanbul at the time.
Q: What is the architecture of the Yeni Mosque like?
A: The Yeni Mosque is an example of Ottoman-style mosque architecture, with intricate tile work and calligraphy.
Q: Can one visit the Yeni Mosque?
A: Yes, the Yeni Mosque is open to visitors, but appropriate dress and behavior are required.
Q: Is there an entrance fee to visit the Yeni Mosque?
A: No, there is no entrance fee to visit the Yeni Mosque.
Q: What are the visiting hours for the Yeni Mosque?
A: The visiting hours for the Yeni Mosque may vary, but it is typically open for visitors during daylight hours.
Q: Is there a place to perform ablutions (wudu) at the Yeni Mosque?
A: Yes, there are facilities for performing ablutions (wudu) at the Yeni Mosque.
Q: What is the best time to visit the Yeni Mosque?
A: The best time to visit the Yeni Mosque is during daylight hours when it is open to visitors. Visiting during the spring or fall when the weather is mild is recommended.
Q: Are there any nearby attractions to the Yeni Mosque?
A: Yes, there are several nearby attractions to the Yeni Mosque, including the Spice Bazaar, the Galata Bridge, and the Golden Horn.
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