The Süleymaniye Mosque was built by the order of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent during 1550-1557. It is a large complex of various buildings including a mosque, a madrasah, a library, an observatory, a hospital, a mess and a caravansary. It is the biggest and the second most important mosque in Istanbul after the Blue Mosque.
The Süleymaniye Mosque is on a hill overlooking the Golden Horn Bay. The height of its dome reaches 53 meters, with the diameters of about 27 meters. By its size the Süleymaniye Mosque is inferior to the Hagia Sofia but is superior to the Blue Mosque. The total area of all its buildings is 4.5 thousand square meters, so the mosque occupies a whole quarter.
There is a necropolis in the court. There you can see the tombs of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and his wife Roxelana. Roxelana also known as Hurrem Sultan was born in Ukraine and was entered in the harem as a favorite concubine. But later she became the legal wife of the sultan and, thanks to her intelligence, even acted as Süleyman`s chief adviser on matters of state.
The mosque has a stately interior. The main room of the mosque is supplied with light through 138 windows. The mosque can simultaneously accommodate up to 4 thousand prayers. The dome of the mosque is supported by four huge columns. Two of them was brought from Baalbek and Alexandria and the other two columns were taken from the palace of Byzantine emperors. The four minarets of the mosque symbolize the years of the rule of Suleiman who was the fourth sultan who ruled in Istanbul.
The bath-house dating back to the time of Suleiman is still working but is open only for married pairs. There is also a restaurant on the territory of the Süleymaniye Mosque.