Selimiye Mosque

Top choice in Edirne

Designed by Ottoman architect Mimar Koca Sinan (1497–1588), whose best-known works adorn İstanbul's skyline, this exquisite World Heritage–listed mosque is Edirne's most cherished building. Built between 1569 and 1575 by order of Sultan Selim II at Edirne's highest point, the mosque features four striking 71m-high minarets and was positioned in the centre of an extensive külliye (mosque complex), which included a medrese (Islamic school of higher studies), darül Hadis (Hadith school) and arasta (arcade of shops).

The main entrance is through the western courtyard, home to a lovely marble şadırvan (ablution fountain). Inside, the broad, lofty dome – at 31.3m, marginally wider than that of İstanbul's Aya Sofya – is supported by eight unobtrusive pillars, arches and external buttresses, creating a surprisingly spacious interior. As they only bear a portion of the dome's weight, the walls are sound enough to hold dozens of windows, the light from which brings out the interior's colourful calligraphic decorations.