Lonely Planet review
Only in İstanbul would a 400-year-old mosque be called 'New'. Dating from 1597, its design references both the Blue Mosque and the Süleymaniye Mosque, with a large forecourt and a square sanctuary surmounted by a series of semidomes crowned by a grand dome. The interior is richly decorated with gold leaf, coloured İznik tiles and carved marble.
Originally commissioned by Valide Sultan Safiye, mother of Sultan Mehmet III, it was completed six sultans later in 1663 by order of Valide Sultan Turhan Hadice, mother of Sultan Mehmet IV.
The site had earlier been occupied by a community of Karaite Jews, radical dissenters from Orthodox Judaism. When the valide sultan decided to build her grand mosque here, the Karaites were moved to Hasköy, a district further up the Golden Horn that still bears traces of their presence.
The mosque was created after Ottoman architecture had reached its peak. Consequently, even its tiles are slightly inferior products, the late 17th century having seen a diminution in the quality of the products coming out of the İznik workshops. You will see this if you compare these tiles with the exquisite examples found in the nearby Rüstem Paşa Mosque, which are from the high period of İznik tilework. Nonetheless, it is a popular working mosque and a much-loved adornment to the city skyline.
Across the road from the mosque is the tomb of Valide Sultan Turhan Hadice, the woman who completed construction of the New Mosque. Buried with her are no fewer than six sultans, including her son Mehmet IV, plus dozens of imperial princes and princesses.