Yavuz Sultan Selim Mosque

sights / Religious

Yavuz Sultan Selim Mosque information

Istanbul , Turkey
Yavuz Selim Caddesi
Getting there
Bus: 90 from Eminönü
Opening hours
tomb 9am-5pm
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The sultan to whom this mosque was dedicated (Süleyman the Magnificent's father, Selim I, known as 'the Grim') was by all accounts a nasty piece of work. He is famous for having killed his father, two of his brothers, six of his nephews and three of his own sons. Odd, then, that İstanbullus love his mosque so much.

The reason becomes clear when a visit reveals the mosque's position atop the Old City's fifth hill. Its terrace has panoramic views over the Golden Horn and is a popular picnic and relaxation spot. Selim's türbe (tomb) is in the garden behind the mosque.

The mosque is located in the fascinating Çarşamba district, one of the city's most conservative enclaves. Women in black chadors and men with long beards and traditional clothing are seen everywhere, often hurrying to prayers at the İsmail Ağa Mosque, headquarters of the Nakşibendi Tarikatı, a Sufi sect.The huge sunken park next door was originally a 5th-century open Roman cistern; it's now home to playing fields, basketball courts and an excellent children's playground.

The building itself, constructed between 1522–29, has a simple but elegant design. Inside, its mother-of-pearl inlay and painted woodwork provide the most distinctive features.